Alabama death row inmate Kenneth Smith prepares for an unprecedented execution by nitrogen gas, following a failed attempt at lethal injection. Smith recounts the trauma he endured during the botched execution, expressing his fears and anxiety about facing the death chamber once again. The upcoming execution will be the first of its kind in the United States, using a method condemned by veterinarians for its ethical implications.
Smith, who was convicted for his involvement in a 1988 murder, details his experience of surviving the previous execution attempt and the psychological impact it has had on him. He describes the nightmares and symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder he has been suffering from. Despite his remorse for his past actions, Smith questions the justice and mercy in subjecting him to further trauma through a new and untested execution method.
The nitrogen gas execution method, initially adopted by Oklahoma in 2015, has drawn criticism for its potential to cause prolonged and distressing deaths. Smith raises concerns about the process, expressing worry that its success could lead to its widespread adoption by other states. He also highlights the physical and emotional toll the impending execution has taken on him, including the agony of having to say goodbye to his loved ones once again.
Smith’s legal team is making eleventh-hour appeals, arguing that the proposed execution method, coupled with the trauma from the previous attempt, constitutes cruel and unusual punishment. The ongoing legal battle seeks to halt the impending execution, but time is running out as the scheduled date draws near.
As Smith grapples with the looming execution, his story raises questions about the ethical implications of capital punishment and the psychological toll it takes on individuals. The impending execution serves as a stark reminder of the human cost of the justice system and prompts a larger conversation about mercy and compassion in the face of difficult circumstances.