BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — The U.S. Supreme Court has denied an appeal by an Alabama death row inmate for a stay of execution.
Kenneth Eugene Smith’s application for a stay of execution, presented to Justice Thomas and referred to the entire court, was denied around 5:30 p.m. Wednesday.
Earlier that day, the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals heard oral arguments in a case concerning Smith. That court had not yet ruled as of publication time.
Smith has alleged that – given Alabama’s recent execution difficulties – attempting to execute him may violate the Eighth Amendment’s ban on cruel and unusual punishment.
Barring further action by a court, Smith is set to be executed by lethal injection at 6 p.m. Thursday.
In 1996, Smith was convicted in a murder-for-hire plot that led to the death of Elizabeth Dorlene Sennett in her Colbert County home. A jury recommended 11-1 that Smith should receive a sentence of life without parole, but a judge overrode that verdict and sentenced Smith to death.
“If Smith’s trial had occurred today, he would not be eligible for execution,” a federal appeals court wrote in 2021.