For Immediate Release:
August 25, 2023
For press inquiries only, contact:
Amanda Priest (334) 322-5694
Cameron Mixon (334) 242-7491
“It is a travesty that Kenneth Smith has been able to avoid his death sentence for nearly 35 years after being convicted of the heinous murder-for-hire slaying of an innocent woman, Elizabeth Sennett,” said Attorney General Marshall.
In March 1988, Charles Sennett, the pastor of the Westside Church of Christ in Sheffield, Alabama, sought to hire a hitman. Reverend Sennett, who had incurred substantial debts and was having an extramarital affair, had taken out a large insurance policy on his wife. His scheme was to have his wife murdered, which would enable him—in one cowardly fell swoop—to escape both his financial obligations and his marital vows. Through an intermediary, Reverend Sennett hired Kenny Smith and Smith’s friend, John Parker, for $1,000 each to conduct the murder. Elizabeth was ambushed, violently punched, beaten, and bludgeoned, and stabbed over and over again with the six-inch survival knife that Smith and Parker had brought with them. In addition to countless lacerations and abrasions that she sustained to her body, Elizabeth suffered a total of ten stab wounds—eight to her chest and two to her neck—which proved fatal.
Kenneth Smith was tried for his crimes in 1989 and again in 1996. In both trials, Smith was convicted of capital murder by a jury of his peers and sentenced to death for his crimes. He was previously scheduled to be executed on November 17, 2022.