Spiritual Adviser Describes First-ever Nitrogen Gas Execution

Convicted hitman Kenneth Eugene Smith has become the world’s first prisoner to be executed using nitrogen gas. Smith, who has been on death row since 1989, took 22 minutes to die.

He was originally convicted of a murder-for-hire in 1988, during which he and his accomplice, John Forrest Parker, killed 45-year-old Elizabeth Sennett after they were paid $1,000 each by her husband, Charles Sennett, Sr.

New York Post reports that the case went viral after Smith survived a botched attempt to end his life via lethal injection in November 2022. The attempt was canceled when doctors failed to find a vein to inject the deadly drug after trying for hours.

In what has become the first of its kind, authorities later opted to execute the death row inmate with nitrogen gas.

The spiritual adviser, who was among the people who witnessed the execution, says the victim suffered a horrific death.

Smith’s spiritual adviser, Reverend Jeff Hood, accompanied him to the execution chamber where he was executed. Hood described the execution as the worst thing he had ever seen, claiming that the prison officials were in shock as he died slower than expected.

“I got into the execution chamber, and one of the first things that I realized was what the oxygen meters were saying,” Hood said. “The oxygen meters, when I went in for orientation the other day, were at 22%, which makes sense because air is like 78% nitrogen. When I was going into the chamber, it was 25.4%, which means that they were pumping extra oxygen into the chamber, so that was kind of how they managed that.”

He went further, explaining the terrifying details of the execution.

‘The execution starts at about 7.53. The nitrogen begins flowing into the gas mask and Kenny begins to violently shake against the straps that are holding him,” Hood said. “He looked like a fish out of the water, flapping over and over again. The whole thing was just horrific. It’s a scene that will never leave me. Some of Smith’s struggles looked produced for Hollywood. If you had taken me in there and not told me I was at an execution, I would think I was on a movie set.”

According to Daily Mail, Smith was pronounced dead at 8:25 pm local time, 22 minutes after the nitrogen gas was first administered. At 8:07 pm, a corrections officer leaned over Smith and examined him, before stepping back against the wall to let the execution continue.

Following the execution, Alabama Corrections Commissioner John Q. Hamm said nothing was out of the ordinary compared to what they expected.

However, Hood disagreed with Hamm, calling the prison official a liar.

“I think he’s a liar. Alabama Attorney General, Steve Marshall said the same thing. They’re liars,” Hood said, reacting to Hamm’s statement. “They said all along that this was going to be nearly instantaneous. That he would be gone, unconscious, in seconds. What we saw last night was minutes, minutes, and minutes of a horror show.”