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Death row prisoner set to become second ever person executed using ‘inhumane’ new method sues Alabama
Featured Image Credit: Alabama Department of Corrections / William F. Campbell/Getty Images

Death row prisoner set to become second ever person executed using ‘inhumane’ new method sues Alabama

Alan Eugene Miller is set to be the second person to face the controversial execution method

A death row prisoner set to become the second person to be executed using nitrogen gas in a controversial execution method has filed a lawsuit against the state of Alabama.

Back in January, Kenneth Eugene Smith was executed at Holman Correctional Facility, Alabama.

This new execution method involved the use of nitrogen hypoxia, in which the inmate breathes in nitrogen through a respirator placed over their nose and mouth - killing them as a result of oxygen deprivation.

The state attorney's general office said at a court hearing in December that the execution method would 'cause unconsciousness within seconds, and cause death within minutes'.

In a final statement before his passing, Smith said: "Tonight Alabama causes humanity to take a step backwards. … I’m leaving with love, peace and light."

He then made the 'I love you sign' with his hands toward family members who were present, before concluding: "Thank you for supporting me. Love, love all of you."

Now, Alan Eugene Miller, 57, is facing the same execution method after surviving an attempted execution by lethal injection in 2022 after it went past the midnight deadline.

Miller was sentenced to death in 1999 for the killing of Terry Jarvis, Lee Holdbrooks and Scott Yancy.

Alan Eugene Miller.
Alabama Department of Corrections

On February 21, Alabama filed a request to set a date for Miller's execution by nitrogen gas.

However, his attorneys, who filed the lawsuit on Friday (March 29), are fighting against the use of the execution method after Smith 'writhed and convulsed' during his execution.

They also allege the state wants to 'silence' Miller for speaking out against his failed execution attempt, calling it a violation of his free speech and due process rights.

"Rather than address these failures, the State of Alabama has attempted to maintain secrecy and avoid public scrutiny, in part by misrepresenting what happened in this botched execution," the lawyers claimed.

The lawyers also went on to claim that Alabama was unable to conduct the execution method 'without cruelly superadding pain and disgrace, and prolonging death'.

Miller had previously filed a federal lawsuit against being executed by lethal injection, accusing prison officials of hanging him vertically while strapped to a gurney and poking needles into his veins for over than an hour.

UNILAD has reached out to Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall for comment.

Kenneth Eugene Smith became the first prisoner to face the execution method.
Alabama Department of Corrections

During Smith's execution in January, reporters got to sit in the gas chamber that day.

Montgomery Advertiser's Marty Roney said that between 7:57pm and 8:01pm, 'Smith writhed and convulsed on the gurney. He took deep breaths, his body shaking violently with his eyes rolling in the back of his head'.

"Smith clenched his fists, his legs shook … He seemed to be gasping for air. The gurney shook several times," Roney continued.

Witnesses also said that this was eventually followed by several minutes of deep breathing before Smith breath began slowing 'until it was no longer perceptible for media witnesses'.

The UN's High Commissioner for Human Rights has also voiced their opposition to the method, saying it could amount to torture or inhumane treatment.

Topics: Death Row, US News