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Alabama death row inmate, Kenneth Eugene Smith, has been executed by being suffocated with nitrogen gas.

He is the first person to be so executed in US history using the method – Nitrogen Hypoxia.

Smith, 58, was born on 4th July 1966 and was executed on 25th January 2024.

He was pronounced dead at 8.25 pm CT on Thursday at the William C. Holman Correctional Facility in Atmore, Alabama, almost three decades after he was convicted in the 1988 murder-for-hire plot of Elizabeth Dorlene Sennett.

It comes after the Supreme Court denied an 11th-hour request for a stay of execution. The ruling received dissent from Justice Sonia Sotomayor who wrote that the state had selected Smith as a “guinea pig” by using the untested method.

Smith was fitted with a face mask that blocked oxygen and caused nitrogen asphyxia – a move widely condemned by both the United Nations and human rights groups.

In November 2022, Smith survived his first painful, botched execution by lethal injection, when officials struggled to insert an intravenous line into his system. After that, Smith said he favoured the nitrogen gas method.

Since then, his attorneys have sought to block the execution due to risks he would suffocate on his vomit or be left in a vegetative state.

According to the Pool Media report, Smith’s last words were: “Tonight Alabama caused humanity to take a step backwards. I’m leaving with love, peace and light. Thank you for supporting me. Love all of you.”

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