Auburn, Alabama: A federal judge said that Alabama could use nitrogen gas to carry out the first execution in the country.
Judge R. Austin Huffaker of the U.S. District Court refused to stop the planned nitrogen hypoxia execution of 58-year-old Kenneth Smith.
Alabama prisoner Kenneth Eugene Smith asked U.S. District Judge R. Austin Huffaker to stop his planned execution by nitrogen hypoxia on January 25 but the judge refused. Smith’s lawyers say the state wants to use him as a “test subject” for an execution method that hasn’t been tried before.
Plans from the state include putting a respirator-style face mask over Smith’s nose and mouth to replace the air with nitrogen. This will make him unconscious, and later kill him from lack of oxygen.
While some people supported the way of execution, others said it would be cruel and unusual, which is against the Constitution. Smith is going to be put to death on January 25.
This will be the first execution in the country that would use nitrogen hypoxia to deliver a death sentence to a convict in the United States. Alabama, Mississippi, and Oklahoma are the only states that have legalized nitrogen hypoxia as a way to put someone to death, but none of those states have tried to use it yet.