Alabama First Nitrogen Gas Execution Met with Controversy

Alabama executed Kenneth Eugene Smith, 58, by nitrogen gas, the first such execution globally

Smith was convicted of murdering a pastor's wife, Elizabeth Sennett, in a 1988 killing-for-hire

Witnesses said Smith thrashed violently on the gurney during the 25-minute execution

Alabama approved nitrogen hypoxia as an alternative execution method when lethal injection drugs became scarce

The state said the execution was effective and humane, but the UN condemned it as possibly cruel and inhumane

Smith had accomplices including the victim's husband, who arranged her murder for insurance money

Alabama tried to execute Smith in 2021 but couldn't find a vein for lethal injection

The nitrogen method has never been used before and could cause violent convulsions or leave the inmate alive but vegetative

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