Minister Requests Additional Safety Measures From The State While Witnessing An Alabama Prisoner’s Nitrogen Gas Execution

In a letter to the state prison system, a spiritual advisor who was present for the nitrogen gas execution of Alabama hitman Kenneth Smith requested that further safety measures be taken for witnesses and onlookers.

Minister Requests Additional Safety Measures From The State While Witnessing An Alabama Prisoner's Nitrogen Gas Execution

Smith, who is currently 58 years old, will be the first person executed in America using nitrogen gas, even though three states have approved the technique. The date of his execution is set for January 25.

Rev. Jeff Hood, who will be present when Smith is executed, has asked for several things, including extra oxygen sources, oxygen monitors in the death chamber, ambulances outside the prison on standby, and instruction on escape routes in case the nitrogen leak in the execution chamber occurs.

“Nitrogen hypoxia is a novel execution method. Use of this deadly gas, unlike lethal injection, poses a high risk of exposure to all bystanders. As such, its use requires special safeguards to protect all bystanders and observers, including Dr. Hood,” Hood’s attorney stated in the letter, which was seen by The Associated Press.

Smith, Hood, and a correctional officer are in the execution chamber when a warden in a nearby room activates the nitrogen gas system. Through windows in other adjacent rooms, a variety of witnesses, including lawyers, journalists, and supporters of Smith’s victim, will observe his execution.

According to the AP, the reverend was forced to sign a document stating that the procedure carried “highly unlikely” dangers. In addition, he had to consent to keep three feet clear of Smith’s gas mask, which will cover his mouth and nose while pure nitrogen is used in place of breathing air.

The gas will be given, according to state procedure, for at least fifteen minutes or for five minutes following a “flatline indication on the EKG.” Alabama claims Smith will pass away from oxygen deprivation in a matter of minutes.

Smith’s legal team has compared the technique of execution to experiments on humans.

Smith filed a motion to halt the execution, which will be heard by a federal appeals court on Friday. However, the state contended in a court document on Wednesday that the execution procedure should be permitted to continue.

Smith’s attorneys contend in the request that the state’s protocol is unlawful because it prohibits cruel and unusual punishment and that there are too many unknowns associated with the procedure. Additionally, they contend that the fact that Smith’s execution is set while his appeals are still unresolved violates his right to due process.

In 1988, Smith was one of two men who received a $1,000 payment to murder Elizabeth Sennett on her preacher husband’s behalf. The goal of the insurance was to pay off debt.

His 2022 execution by lethal injection was supposed to take place, but it had to be postponed because the medical staff was unable to attach two intravenous lines.

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