• Alabama is planning to execute a man using nitrogen gas.
  • But the untested execution method may be dangerous.
  • State officials warned the inmate’s spiritual advisor that a mishap could put others in danger.

Alabama plans to be the first US state to use nitrogen gas to execute a prisoner.

But the untested method of execution could be dangerous to those nearby, specifically the man’s spiritual advisor, who would be in the room when he’s killed, according to the exclusive report by NPR.

Kenneth Smith is due to be killed using nitrogen hypoxia in January, over a year since Alabama tried to execute him by lethal injection.

That attempt failed when corrections workers tried to stick the needles into his veins, but couldn’t do it; the botched execution left him strapped to a gurney for hours, according to legal papers filed by Smith.

“They didn’t even have anybody that could run a line on Kenny,” Smith’s spiritual advisor, Rev. Dr. Jeff Hood, told NPR’s Chiara Eisner, referring to the botched procedure. “And we’re supposed to trust these people with nitrogen? They could kill all of us.”

NPR reported that the Alabama Department of Corrections made Hood sign an acknowledgment form that said the method could create a “small area of risk” if the tube carrying the odorless, colorless, deadly gas to a mask on Smith’s face were to detach.

“Additionally, overpressure could result in a small area of nitrogen gas that displaces the oxygen in the area around the condemned inmate’s face and/or head,” the document states, according to NPR. Alabama corrections officials had Hood agree to keep at least 3 feet away from Smith during his execution.

Hood told NPR he won’t be able to perform Christian last rites on Smith because he won’t be able to get close enough to touch him.

Smith is on death row after being convicted in a 1988 murder-for-hire killing, according to AL.com. Smith and another man beat Elizabeth Sennett to death in a staged home invasion after her husband, Pastor Charles Sennett, paid them, the Alabama outlet reported.

Charles Sennett killed himself before he was charged, AL.com reported.

Smith admitted to his role in Elizabeth Sennett’s death and the jury recommended life in prison, according to AL.com. The judge in the case overruled their suggestion and sentenced him to death, AL.com reported.

The Supreme Court previously declined to block his execution.