Lawyers ask federal appeals court to block the nation’s first execution by nitrogen hypoxia

R/I ~  AA.


Attorneys for the first inmate slated to be put to death with nitrogen gas have asked a federal appeals court to block the execution scheduled later this month in Alabama.

Kenneth Eugene Smith’s attorneys on Monday asked the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to block his Jan. 25 execution. The appellate court will hear arguments in the case on Friday.

The state plans to place a face mask over Smith’s nose and mouth to replace breathable air with pure nitrogen — an inert gas that makes up 78% of the air inhaled by humans — causing him to die from lack of oxygen. The nitrogen gas would be administered for at least 15 minutes or “five minutes following a flatline indication on the EKG, whichever is longer,” according to the state protocol.


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