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Alabama becomes first state to carry out execution by nitrogen gas

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Alabama executed a convicted murderer with nitrogen gas Thursday, putting him to death with a first-of-its-kind method that once again put the US at the forefront of the debate over capital punishment. The state said the method would be humane, but critics called it cruel and experimental.

Officials said Kenneth Eugene Smith, 58, was pronounced dead at 8:25 pm at an Alabama prison after breathing pure nitrogen gas through a face mask to cause oxygen deprivation. It marked the first time that a new execution method has been used in the United States since lethal injection, now the most commonly used method, was introduced in 1982.

The state had previously attempted to execute Smith, who was convicted of a 1988 murder-for-hire, in 2022, but the lethal injection was called off at the last minute because authorities couldn’t connect an IV line.

The execution came after a last-minute legal battle in which Smith’s attorneys contended the state was making him the test subject for an experimental execution method that could violate the constitutional ban on cruel and unusual punishment. Federal courts rejected Smith’s bid to block it, with the latest ruling coming Thursday night from the US Supreme Court. (Associated Press)

The post Alabama becomes first state to carry out execution by nitrogen gas appeared first on DailyNews.

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