Attorneys for AL death row inmate claim he wasn’t told about stay of execution while strapped to gurney

Published: Nov. 27, 2022 at 10:54 PM CST
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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - Attorneys for an Alabama death row inmate whose execution was called off earlier this month now claim the execution process continued despite a stay from the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals.

In newly filed court documents, attorneys for Kenneth Smith say, despite a stay, Smith was strapped to a gurney and not told a federal court had stayed his execution. His attorneys said Smith was strapped to that gurney in the execution chamber for approximately four hours.

A little after 10 p.m., once that stay was lifted by the U.S. Supreme Court, court documents say Smith’s arms and hands were jabbed repeatedly with needles “well past the point at which the executioners should have known that it was not reasonably possible to access a vein”.

Shortly thereafter, Smith’s attorneys say he was injected with an unknown substance believed to be a sedative or anesthetic which is something he objected to and was aware that the state had represented that it does not deliver intramuscular injections as part of the execution process and had been ordered not to use “intramuscular sedation” during his execution.

After that injection, Smith’s attorney said someone wearing a face shield started repeatedly stabbing his collarbone area with a large needle in an attempt to begin a central line. His attorneys said throughout the whole ordeal, Smith’s cries for pain were ignored and his requests that officials in the room contact his attorneys and the Court were being violated.

Around 11:20 p.m., the state called off the execution after spending an hour trying to set up IV lines.

“We did gain access one vein access on the condemned. We went to our protocol of a central line. We were not able to have time to complete that so we called off the execution,” ADOC Commissioner John Hamm said.

Executions in Alabama are currently on hold after Governor Ivey ordered a top to bottom review of the execution process. This is the third failed execution since 2018.

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