Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall claims Kenneth Eugene Smith did not suffer unconstitutionally in his failed execution, which Smith claimed in a federal lawsuit.
Smith was sentenced to death for the 1988 murder-for-hire of Elizabeth Sennett, whose husband, Charles Sennett, paid Smith $1,000 for the killing.
The coroner testified that Elizabeth had been stabbed eight times in the chest and once on each side of the neck. According to court records, Charles Sennett took his own life a week later when the murder investigation started to focus on him as a suspect.
Smith’s execution was called off on Nov. 11, 2022, after the Alabama Department of Corrections (ADOC) failed to establish an intravenous (IV) line to administer the lethal chemicals in the state's protocol.
Following the failed execution, Smith’s attorneys filed a lawsuit claiming he had been "subjected to ever-escalating levels of pain and torture." The suit’s purpose is to prevent ADOC from scheduling another appointment.
Attorneys argued that Smith was punctured with needles multiple times in his arms, hands, neck and collarbone region "well past the point at which the executioners should have known that it was not reasonably possible to access a vein."
Marshall's office asked a judge to dismiss the lawsuit, saying the circumstances surrounding Smith’s execution did not amount to a constitutional violation.
Smith’s was one of two executions called off in 2022, sparking calls from Gov. Kay Ivey for an investigation into ADOC’s protocol and to temporarily halt executions in the state.
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