“Alabama Execution of Kenneth Smith with Nitrogen Gas: Eyewitness Describes Convict’s Agonizing Tremors, Unleashing a Sense of Unprecedented Evil”

The account of the nitrogen gas execution of 58-year-old Kenneth Eugene Smith in Alabama is a chilling narrative that unveils the distressing details of his 22-minute struggle before succumbing to death. The execution, conducted at William C. Holman prison in Atmore, unfolded with the placement of a tight mask over Smith’s face, initiating a series of disturbing events that defied the intended controlled and efficient process.

Jeff Hood, a spiritual guide present during the execution, deemed it the “worst thing” he had ever witnessed. Even prison officials, according to Hood, gasped in horror as Smith convulsed, repeatedly popping up on the gurney and violently shaking it when the nitrogen was introduced. The scene, far from the anticipated controlled procedure, turned chaotic and distressing.

In a pivotal moment, Smith’s wife, Deanna, cried out for him from the witness box as he struggled against his restraints. Smith, facing the inevitable, conveyed his final words through the gas mask, making a heart sign with his left hand to his family. He uttered, “Tonight Alabama causes humanity to take a step backwards… I’m leaving with love, peace, and light,” as reported by the Daily Mail.

Despite Smith’s pastor, John Ewell, acknowledging the convicted killer’s inner turmoil about his impending death, the execution proceeded. Officials noted that Smith barely touched his final meal, a T-bone steak, hash browns, eggs, and A1 Sauce from Waffle House.

The apparatus used for Smith’s execution, likened to a firefighter’s mask by Hood, appeared to catch even corrections officers off guard. Hood emotionally recounted that the process did not go smoothly, with one state official in the room nervously tap dancing.

As Smith continued to breathe for an extended period—potentially up to nine or ten minutes—Hood asserted that “unbelievable evil was unleashed tonight in Alabama.” Drawing from his experience witnessing five executions, Hood expressed a preference for lethal injection, emphasizing its perceived superiority.

In contrast, Alabama officials have praised the nitrogen hypoxia method as an “effective and humane” means of execution, aligning with Oklahoma and Mississippi in authorizing its use.

Kenneth Eugene Smith faced accusations of the murder-for-hire killing of Elizabeth Dorelene Sennett in Colbert County in 1988. Court records suggest he claimed to have received $1,000 from the victim’s husband, Colbert County minister Charles Sennett Sr. Sennett suffered eight stab wounds to the chest and additional wounds to the neck, as reported by the county coroner. Charles Sennett died by suicide before facing charges.

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