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    Alabama requests another nitrogen gas execution despite concern over first

    By Ailin Vilches Arguello,


    Alabama is planning to conduct another nitrogen gas execution months after the state carried out the United States’s first execution via nitrogen hypoxia.

    The attorney general’s office has requested the Alabama Supreme Court approve an execution date for Carey Dale Grayson, who was found guilty of Vickie Deblieux’s murder in 1994.

    Grayson was one of four adolescents charged with torturing, murdering, and mutilating Deblieux. All were convicted and sentenced to death, but two of them, who were under 18 at the time, had their sentences overturned following the U.S. Supreme Court ’s 2005 ruling prohibiting the execution of offenders under 18 when committing crimes.

    If granted authorization, it would be the state’s third execution via nitrogen gas.

    Last January, Kenneth Smith became the U.S.’s first person to undergo a nitrogen gas execution after he was convicted for the 1988 murder-for-hire killing of Alabama native Elizabeth Sennett. During his execution, Smith suffered convulsions that lasted over two minutes, prompting concerns from advocates who criticized it as contradicting the state’s assurance of a quick and painless death.

    The Supreme Court also scheduled a second execution for Alan Miller on Sept. 26, who was found guilty of killing three men in a workplace shooting in 1999.

    “It is disappointing that the state wants to schedule a third nitrogen hypoxia execution before the question of whether the first one tortured Kenneth Smith has been resolved,” John Palombi, an attorney with the Federal Defenders Program, wrote in an email.

    While lethal injection remains the state’s primary execution method, inmates have the option to request nitrogen gas or the electric chair.

    Despite disputes and legal battles surrounding Smith’s execution, the state is now seeking execution dates for inmates who requested nitrogen gas as their preferred method, Grayson being one of them.


    “Now that [Grayson] knows how Alabama will implement this method of execution, he has concerns that may only be resolved through a full trial on the question of whether this method, as Alabama chooses to implement it, is constitutional,” Palombi said.

    However, Alabama’s Attorney General Steve Marshall described the execution as “textbook” and offered assistance to other states in adopting this new method.

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