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Idaho Suspends Serial Killer’s Execution After Multiple Attempts To Find Vein For Lethal Injection

A prison officer patrols near the entrance to the Idaho Maximum Security Institution near Kuna, Idaho on Wednesday, Feb. 28, 2024. Thomas Eugene Creech is set to be executed at prison south of Boise for the state’s first execution in 12 years. (AP Photo/Kyle Green)

OAN’s James Meyers
3:08 PM – Wednesday, February 28, 2024

The state of Idaho stopped the execution of convicted serial killer Thomas Eugene Creech, who is considered one of the longest-serving death row inmates in the United States, after the medical team could not find a vein after repeated attempts to carry out a lethal injection. 

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The 73-year-old was imprisoned in 1974 and has been convicted of five murders in three states and also suspected of many more. 

Meanwhile, he was already serving life in prison when he beat a fellow inmate, 22-yaer-old Davide Dale Jansen, to death in 1981, which is the crime Creech was to be executed for over 40 years later. 

The serial killer was wheeled into the execution chamber at the Idaho Maximum Security Institution on a gurney at 10 a.m., about an hour after the U.S, Supreme Court denied his last-minute request to stay his execution. 

“Mr. Creech will be returned to his cell and witnesses will be escorted out of the facility,” the Idaho Department of Corrections said in a statement. “As a result, the death warrant will expire. The State will consider next steps.”

The surprise twist came after Associate Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan issued a decision Wednesday morning denying Creech’s request for a stay of execution that allowed prison authorities to carry out the lethal injection killing. 

Additionally, three medical team members tried eight times to establish an IV, according to Josh Tewalt, the corrections director, said in a news conference afterward. They attempted sites in his arms, hands, legs and feet. 

The warden announced he was stopping the execution at 10:58 a.m.

Furthermore, the Idaho department of corrections said its death warrant for Creech would be expiring soon and would consider the next steps in the process. 

Creech’s attorneys filed a new motion after the debacle, saying “the badly botched execution attempt” proves the department’s “inability to carry out a humane and constitutional execution.”

“This is what happens when unknown individuals with unknown training are assigned to carry out an execution,” the Federal Defender Services of Idaho said in a written statement.

Idaho Governor Brad Little ( R-Idaho) said that he had “zero intention” of halting the execution at the Idaho Maximum Security Institution.

“Thomas Creech is a convicted serial killer responsible for acts of extreme violence,” Little said in a statement issued on Jan. 29. “His lawful and just sentence must be carried out as ordered by the court. Justice has been delayed long enough.”

In a 1993 opinion issued by the Supreme Court denying an appeal filed by Creech, late Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor wrote, “Creech admitted to killing or participating in the killing of at least 26 people.”

“The bodies of 11 of his victims — who were shot, stabbed, beaten, or strangled to death — have been recovered in seven states,” she said.

Meanwhile, a former prison nurse, a former prosecutor, prison guards and the judge who sentenced Creech to death all filed declarations to support his request for clemency, which was denied in a 3-3 vote on January 29th by the Idaho Commission of Pardons and Parole. 

Judge Robert Newhouse, who sentenced Creech to death in 1983 said during his ruling to the commission that Creech should serve the rest of his life behind bars and executing him would “just be an act of vengeance.”

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