CNA Staff, Jan 23, 2024 / 17:50 pm
A lay Catholic community dedicated to peace efforts has expressed concern about an execution scheduled in Alabama for Jan. 25, set to be carried out using a relatively untested method called nitrogen hypoxia.
The Community of Sant’Egidio, a group founded in Rome and known for mediating conflicts worldwide, shared a petition Jan. 23 urging Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey to halt the execution of convicted murderer Kenneth “Kenny” Eugene Smith.
Smith is scheduled to die Thursday after being convicted for the 1988 murder of Elizabeth Dorlene Sennett, whom Sennett’s husband, a Protestant pastor, had paid Smith to kill. The state of Alabama attempted in November 2022 to execute Smith by way of lethal injection but postponed his execution after an attempt to administer the injection was unsuccessful.
Sant’Egidio, which has advocated for many years for an end to the death penalty, says that Smith will be the first person in the world to be executed using nitrogen hypoxia, which involves the fitting of a mask over the condemned person’s face and pure nitrogen — a normally harmless gas — being pumped through it, leading to suffocation.