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Alabama calls off lethal injection execution, again

Death Penalty Alabama
Alabama Department of Corrections
This undated photo provided by Alabama Department of Corrections shows inmate Kenneth Eugene Smith, who was convicted in a 1988 murder-for-hire slaying of a preacher’s wife. Smith, 57, is scheduled to receive a lethal injection at a south Alabama prison on Thursday, Nov. 17, 2022. (Alabama Department of Corrections via AP).

Alabama has called off a scheduled execution for the second time since September. Kenneth Smith faces the death penalty for the 1988 murder-for-hire slaying of a preacher's wife. His execution was called off after the state had trouble establishing an IV before the midnight deadline to get the execution underway. Alabama Department of Corrections Commissioner John Hamm says prison staff tried for about an hour to get the two required intravenous lines connected to Smith. The DOC says technicians established one line but were unsuccessful with a second line after trying several locations on Smith's body. It is the second execution since September the state has cancelled because of venous access difficulties.

That other incident occurred when Alabama officials called off the lethal injection of death row inmate Alan Miller. He was convicted in a 1999 workplace shooting where three people were killed. That execution was called off because of time concerns and trouble accessing the inmate's veins. The DOC says the state halted the scheduled execution after they determined they could not get the lethal injection underway before midnight, like Kenneth Smith. Miller’s last-minute reprieve came nearly three hours after a divided U.S. Supreme Court cleared the way for the execution to begin.

Pat Duggins is news director for Alabama Public Radio.
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