Witness to Kenneth Eugene Smith’s historic nitrogen execution describes ‘horrific’ moment THE killer suffocated to death


ALABAMA – A witness to the first ever nitrogen hypoxia execution described the ‘horrific’ moment Kenneth Eugene Smith writhed in agony as he suffocated to death. 

How the Execution Unfolded

Smith, 58, had a tight gas mask placed over his face before a stream of 100 percent nitrogen gas suffocated him inside the execution chamber at the William C. Holman prison in Atmore, Alabama. 

The moment was the ‘worst thing’ spiritual guider Jeff Hood said he had ever seen, claiming prison officials gasped in shock throughout Smith’s 22-minute ordeal on the gurney. 

When the Nitrogen was ‘on’

‘When they turned the nitrogen on, he began to convulse, he popped up on the gurney over and over again, he shook the whole gurney,’ Hood said. 

Smith was officially pronounced dead at 8:25pm local time, 22 minutes after the nitrogen gas was first administered. At 8:07pm, a corrections officer leaned over Smith and examined him, before stepping back against the wall to let the execution continue. 

Smith’s Final Words

As he spoke his final words, delivered through the gas mask on his face, Smith made a heart sign with his hands to his family before declaring: ‘Tonight Alabama causes humanity to take a step backwards… I’m leaving with love, peace and light.’

His Crime

He was sentenced to death in 1996 for the murder-for-hire slaying of a preacher’s wife in 1988, where he was paid just $1,000 for the hit. 

Smith’s pastor John Ewell said before his execution that the killer was ‘really struggling’ with the reality of his imminent death, and officials said he barely touched his final meal of a T-bone steak, hashbrowns, eggs and A1 Sauce from Waffle House. 

How the Contraption Look Like

Hood was one of the few people to witness the historic execution, and he noted that the contraption used to kill Smith resembled a ‘firefighters mask.’ 

‘After praying with the murderer and telling him that he ‘loved him and he wasn’t alone’, Hood broke down as he recounted the ‘horror show’ of Smith’s final moments. 

READ ALSO: Nottingham triple-killer is detained in high-security hospital ‘for life’ as CCTV shows how day of horror unfolded

‘I could see the corrections officers, I think they were very surprised that this didn’t go smoothly – one of the state officials in the room was so nervous she was tap dancing,’ he continued. 

He Kept his Breath for About 10 Minutes

‘(Smith) kept breathing for what could possibly be up to nine minutes, ten minutes, unbelievable evil was unleashed tonight in Alabama.’

Hood’s claims of Smith’s execution being a ‘horror show’ directly oppose the narrative put out by Alabama officials, who praised it as a step forward for safe death row justice as an ‘effective and humane method of execution.’

The historic execution divided opinions, including among Supreme Court justices who voted 6-3 to allow the procedure to go ahead, with the untested method previously branded ‘torture’ by the UN

Smith’s execution marked the first time a new method had been used on America’s death row since lethal injections were first introduced 42 years ago. 

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Ola Alabi
Ola Moses is a certified writer, He writes technically and creatively. He is the CEO of WORDSWORTH, a house where writing is made easier for all. He is a content creator at EsB TV, since 2019. He is a young man that showcases professionalism in all that he does, he was announced as Child and Green Foundation Person of the Year 2018, one of his many lists of honours.


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