‘Like a knife’: Alabama death row inmate Kenneth Smith describes state’s botched execution attempt

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Kenneth Eugene Smith is a member of the Weird and Horrible Club: Alabama People Tried to Execute, but failed to do so in time. Its membership has grown this year as the state failed twice to carry out a death sentence.

Smith, on death row for his role in the 1988 for-profit murder of Elizabeth Dorlene Sennett, was due to be executed on Thursday evening.

With court appeals still pending, Alabama began prepping Smith for execution, struggling for over an hour to place an IV line that would deliver his lethal injection drugs.

At 10:23 p.m., the United States Supreme Court dismissed his final appeal, clearing the way for his execution. At this point, he had been tied to a stretcher for several hours. As prison staff continued to struggle to place an IV, pricking Smith’s arm, hand, neck and chest with large needles. An hour later, state officials called off the execution entirely, believing they would not be completed by the midnight deadline for Smith’s death warrant.

Smith, who is now in litigation with the State of Alabama over the botched execution, Told Atlantic the experience was “like a knife”, and that he repeatedly told prison officials that he was in pain, even though he was supposed to have been completely anesthetized.

“And I kept telling them,” Smith added, “call the fucking judge. My case number is 2:22-CV-497. Someone in this fucking room call the judge or call my lawyer.

His wife, who asked to remain anonymous, Told Newsweek Smith must now “heal physically and mentally from this ordeal as they have caused him great physical pain and mental trauma during this process”.

State officials defended their handling of the execution and appeared to blame Mr. Smith’s appeals for difficulties in carrying out the killing, rather than the inability to place an IV.

“Although justice could not be served tonight due to last minute legal attempts to delay or cancel the execution, trying was the right thing to do,” Governor Kay Ivey said. said in a report. “My prayers are with the children and grandchildren of the victim as they are forced to relive their tragic loss.”

The last three executions in Alabama have been marred by scandal.

In July, the murder of Joe Nathan James was mysteriously delayed for more than three hours, and state officials never confirmed to media observers that he was completely unconscious before he was killed. An exterior autopsy revealed his body was scarred with irregular cuts, suggesting another protracted attempt to place an IV line.

Then, in September, Alabama officials called off Alan Miller’s execution, after prison staff were again unable to connect the man to lethal injection drugs in time to meet the law. death warrant deadline.

On Monday, Governor Ivey announced a de facto moratorium on executions in the state, promising that corrections officials will engage in “a top-down review of the state’s execution process” so that “the state can successfully dispense justice in the future”.

“For the sake of the victims and their families, we need to get it right,” she added.

ace The Independent reported, last week saw four executions scheduled in 48 hoursincluding Smith’s, and each case has been marred with various dark marks, including claims of innocence, procedural issues, more medical trauma, and accusations of racism and police misconduct.

The Independent and the ASBL Responsible Business for Justice Initiative (RBIJ) launched a joint campaign calling for an end to the death penalty in the United States. The RBIJ has attracted over 150 well-known signatories to its Statement of Business Leaders Against the Death Penalty – with The Independent as the latest on the list. We join high profile leaders like Ariana Huffington, Facebook’s Sheryl Sandberg and Virgin Group founder Sir Richard Branson in this initiative and pledge to highlight the injustices of the death penalty in our coverage. .

‘Like a knife’: Alabama death row inmate Kenneth Smith describes state’s botched execution attempt

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