Daily Archives: January 31, 2024

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Bernard E. Harcourt | Human Experimentation in Alabama

On the evening of Thursday, January 25, 2024, the State of Alabama strapped a man, Kenneth Smith, to its execution gurney, placed a mask over his face, and pumped nitrogen gas hoping to asphyxiate him quickly. It was an execution method never used before in human history. Steve Marshall, the Alabama Attorney General, promised that Mr. Smith would be unconscious within seconds. What the media witnesses and others, including Mr. Smith’s family and Elizabeth Sennett’s sons, watched was very different—a far cry from the peaceful and dignified passing that Marshall presented to the Supreme Court and the public. It was another botched execution in Alabama: Mr. Smith remained conscious for many minutes after the nitrogen gas started flowing, struggled and writhed on the gurney, convulsed, dry heaved and retched into his mask, gasped for breath, and was finally pronounced dead 22 minutes later. [Continue reading here…]