Alabama Looking To Carry Out Second Nitrogen Hypoxia Execution

( — Alabama recently carried out the first execution via nitrogen hypoxia, a controversial method many human rights advocates claim is inhumane, but despite the criticisms against the method, Alabama prison officials intend to use it for another execution. The decision comes just a month after the controversial execution of Kenneth Smith and will be the second-ever execution via nitrogen hypoxia. Despite the potential legal challenges for prisons using the method, state officials remain adamant about nitrogen hypoxia’s efficiency as a means of killing death row inmates.

Steve Marshall, Alabama’s Attorney General, recently petitioned the Alabama Supreme Court to schedule Alan Eugene Miller’s execution. Marshall also confirmed that prison officials would kill Miller using nitrogen hypoxia. While requesting the execution date, Marshall stated that Miller spent more than 20 years on death row and that it was in the best interest of the state to execute the violent felon. If approved, Miller’s death would be the second to result from nitrogen hypoxia.

Authorities arrested Miller in 1999 after he murdered three people during two different shootings. A jury convicted Miller the following year, and the state sentenced him to death for the gruesome murders. Miller spent 22 years on death row before Alabama attempted to execute him in 2022, but prison officials failed to find a vein to inject and postponed his death. After the botched execution, state officials assured Miller’s defense attorneys that they would use another method of execution for the inmate, resulting in the decision to use nitrogen gas.

Various human rights organizations and anti-death penalty groups have called nitrogen hypoxia inhumane due to how it kills people. When prison officials execute someone using nitrogen gas, they restrain an inmate and put a gas mask over their face. The officials then put a gas tube into the mask, preventing the inmate from breathing in oxygen or other gases. Prison officials then flood the mask with nitrogen, causing the inmate to suffocate before falling unconscious and subsequently dying due to a lack of oxygen.

Despite Alabama officials assuring the public that nitrogen hypoxia is a tested and humane method of execution, many groups worldwide believe the process to be cruel. Even the United Nations released a statement about the execution method, comparing it to torture due to the minutes-long suffocation that precedes a victim’s unconsciousness. Protest groups are already preparing to visit Miller’s prison during the days leading up to the execution, similar to how anti-death penalty advocates protested Kenneth Smith’s execution just a month ago.

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