Execution date set for ‘hitman’ convicted of 1988 murder


News Staff Writer

A jury recommended in 1996 that Kenneth Eugene Smith spend the rest of his life in prison. That sentence came a step closer to fulfillment last week, when the Supreme Court of Alabama set an execution date of November 17 for Smith.
When the condemned man, a “second-tier hitman,” was convicted of the murder of a Colbert County woman, a jury recommended by a vote of 11 to 1 that he be sentenced to life without parole. A judge overrode that verdict and sentenced him to death.
Barring any further judicial action, Smith will die in the execution chamber of Holman Correctional Facility near Atmore.
Smith and two other men were found guilty of a murder-for-hire plot that resulted in the death of Elizabeth Dorlene Sennett.
According to court documents, Sennett’s husband, a preacher who later committed suicide, hired Billy Williams to kill his wife. Williams, in turn, sub-contracted the murder to Smith and John Parker, who in March 1988 staged a burglary and killed the woman.
Williams was convicted and sentenced to life in prison without parole. Parker was also convicted and was executed in 2010.