Alabama death row inmate's plea as legal team makes last-ditch appeal to halt nitrogen execution

25 January 2024, 19:49 | Updated: 25 January 2024, 21:21

Kenneth Eugene Smith
Kenneth Eugene Smith. Picture: Handout
Kieran Kelly

By Kieran Kelly

An Alabama death row inmate has made a plea just hours before he is scheduled to be executed using nitrogen gas for the first time in the USA's history.

Listen to this article

Loading audio...

Lawyers for Kenneth Eugene Smith have made another last-ditch attempt to halt the controversial execution, which has been condemned by human rights groups and the United Nations.

Smith is scheduled to be executed in Alabama at 6pm CT (12am in the UK), nearly 30 years after he was convicted in the murder-for-hire plot of Elizabeth Dorlene Sennett.

Kenneth Eugene Smith
Kenneth Eugene Smith. Picture: Handout

It is the first time an execution will be carried out using nitrogen gas, which risks Smith choking on his own vomit or entering a vegetive state.

Smith already failed a botched execution attempt in November 2022, when officials failed to insert an intravenous line into his system.

Read More: Alabama set for first execution with nitrogen gas

Read More: Hitman on death row to become first to be executed by ‘untested’ nitrogen gas after US Supreme Court declines appeal

Speaking just hours before his execution, Smith said in a statement released via his spiritual adviser, Reverend Doctor Jeff Hood: “The eyes of the world are on this impending moral apocalypse.

“Our prayer is that people will not turn their heads. We simply cannot normalise the suffocation of each other.”

His lawyers are making last-ditch efforts to call off the execution, after the Supreme Court rejected their appeals on Wednesday.