Before this, poisonous chemical liquids were administered to the condemned person by injection. This form of capital punishment is commonly used worldwide. But, now America has gone for a new system.
The court ordered the death penalty for Kenneth Eugenie Smith, an American citizen. Against this backdrop, the staff at the Holman Prison in the state of Alabama, USA, administered nitrogen gas to the convict’s body. This time he died of suffocation due to lack of oxygen.
A total of 3 prisons in the United States, including Alabama, have implemented the method of execution by suffocating criminals with nitrogen gas. Only Alabama, Oklahoma and Mississippi prisons have this type of gas chamber execution system.
The last time US executions were carried out by gas was in 1999. The culprit was killed by hydrogen cyanide gas.
How is this system enforced?
The criminal is given only nitrogen to breathe. No oxygen. A mask is fitted on the head of a person sentenced to death. Only nitrogen gas is emitted from this. The criminal has to consume this gas. Nitrogen instead of oxygen enters the lungs of the criminal.
Smith, who is currently on death row, was infused with nitrogen for about 22 minutes. He was conscious for several minutes after the execution. He was alive for a few minutes.
Soon after the punishment was passed, the criminal started to fight. Tried to break free. He was kicking for about 4 minutes. After this, the intensity of breathing increased for the 5th minute. Then he lost consciousness and died.
His wife and relatives had come to see convict Smith for the last time before his execution. Seeing everyone, he said ‘I love you’ to his wife. After this, five journalists were allowed to stand behind a glass wall and watch the scene of the execution. They themselves were treated as eye-witnesses.
Before dying, criminal Smith said the last words, “Tonight, the state of Alabama will take humanity one step back,” according to a local CBS news reporter. This reporter is also an eyewitness to the death penalty.
What was the charge against Smith?
In 1988, Smith killed a priest’s wife. It was a betel nut murder. After 3 decades of this incident, the culprit has been hanged.