All About Deanna Smith, Kenneth Eugene Smith’s Wife

Deanna Smith is the wife of Kenneth Eugene Smith who was convicted of the March 18, 1988, murder-for-hire of Elizabeth Sennett in Colbert County, Alabama. A week after Elizabeth’s murder her husband, Charles Sennett Sr. killed himself when he learned he was a suspect in the murder. On January 25, 2024, Kenneth Smith was ultimately executed by nitrogen hypoxia becoming the first person to be executed by that method.

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Elizabeth Sennett with her late husband

Deanna Smith Wiki

Deanna Smith was married with Kenneth and was among the few witnesses to the execution, also including Smith’s sons, Steven Tiggleman and Michael Bryant. She cried out for her killer husband as he thrashed against his restraints. Murderer’s spiritual advisor, Jeff Hood said, the execution was the “worst thing” he had ever seen. He continued,

“When they turned the nitrogen on, he began to convulse, he popped up on the gurney over and over again, he shook the whole gurney. Smith was officially pronounced dead at 8:25pm local time, 22 minutes after the nitrogen gas was first administered. At 8:07pm, a corrections officer leaned over Smith and examined him, before stepping back against the wall to let the execution continue.

At one point as the killer tore against his restraints, his wife Deanna, wearing a T-shirt reading ‘Never Alone’, desperately cried out for him from the witness box. As he spoke his final words, delivered through the gas mask on his face, Smith made a heart sign with his left hand to his family before declaring: ‘Tonight Alabama causes humanity to take a step backwards… I’m leaving with love, peace and light.”

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Deanna Smith’s husband
Kenneth Eugene Smith

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Lee Hedgepeth, one of five journalists who witnessed Smith’s execution, sat next to his wife Deanna in the viewing gallery, steps away from the a gurney. Telling BBC,

“The execution starts at about 7.53. The nitrogen begins flowing into the gas mask and Kenny begins to violently shake against the straps that are holding him. That violent shaking lasts for about four or five minutes. I’ve witnessed five executions in Alabama. Four of them lethal injection. One with nitrogen and this was the most violent execution I have ever seen.

Sitting beside me was Deanna Smith, the wife of Kenny. Once Kenny began to violently shake against those straps she began to sob. There were other media witnesses in the room, folks who had seen other executions, and I think there was a shock in the room at how violent the execution was.”

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