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Death Row inmate who’ll be killed by new method never been tried before reflects on his crime ahead of execution

Death Row inmate who’ll be killed by new method never been tried before reflects on his crime ahead of execution

Death Row inmate Kenneth Smith is set to executed by a new method.

The Death Row inmate who will be killed next week by a controversial new execution method says he's 'not ready'.

Alabama inmate Kenneth Smith was sentenced to death for his crimes in 1989 and again in 1996.

In 1988, the hitman was hired by Charles Sennett, the pastor of the Westside Church of Christ in Sheffield, Alabama, who wanted his wife Elizabeth murdered in exchange for an insurance policy.

Smith and his accomplice, John Parker, were paid $1,000 each for the murder, which saw Elizabeth punched, beaten, bludgeoned, and stabbed over and over again with a six-inch survival knife.

Elizabeth suffered a total of ten stab wounds—eight to her chest and two to her neck—which proved fatal.

Smith was eventually convicted of capital murder.

Smith - who has survived three previous executions by lethal injection - is set to be judicially killed on 25 January by a controversial execution method nitrogen hypoxia.

Hitman Kenneth Smith was convicted of capital murder.
Alabama Department of Corrections

The method involves breathing in nitrogen through a respirator placed over the inmate's nose and mouth - killing them as a result of oxygen deprivation.

The state attorney's general office said during a December court hearing that the method would 'cause unconsciousness within seconds, and cause death within minutes'.

When Smith's execution was given the green light last week, it received backlash from the UN high commissioner for human rights in Geneva, who said 'suffocation by nitrogen gas' is classed as torture and is inhuman.

Smith's attorney also appealed against the decision, alleging that his client would be used as a 'test subject'.

And on Friday (19 January), he claimed to the judges at the 11th US Circuit Court of Appeals that the method was flawed and that the state would attempt 'to execute Kenny Smith under unprecedented circumstances'.

And now, Smith has spoken out ahead of his impending execution.

The Alabama prisoner is set to become the first inmate that's executed with a controversial new death penalty method.

“I am not ready for that. Not in no kind of way. I’m just not ready, brother,” Smith told The Guardian.

Amid his failed executions, Smith said he has had trouble sleeping due to the 'what-if games you play in the middle of the night'.

Describing a nightmare he'd had, he added: "All I had to do was walk into the room in the dream for it to be overwhelming. I was absolutely terrified.

“It kept coming up. They haven’t given me a chance to heal.

“I’m still suffering from the first execution and now we’re doing this again.

“They won’t let me even have post-traumatic stress disorder – you know, this is ongoing stress disorder.”

David Morton, professor emeritus of biomedical science and ethics at the University of Birmingham in the UK - who was part of the panel that drew up the commission’s guidelines - has also expressed his concern to outlet: "It is effective, but it can cause severe distress before unconsciousness and death ensue. In effect it is a suffocation method.

"It is likely also that there will be considerable species variation, and we are not sure what will happen in humans.

"Animal experiments are usually used as a proxy for humans, but not so in this case it seems – the ultimate test is being carried out using a human being."

Featured Image Credit: Alabama Department Of Corrections/Getty Stock Image

Topics: Crime, US News