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HomeGeneralIdaho Halts Execution of Thomas Creech After Officials Can’t Set IV Line

Idaho Halts Execution of Thomas Creech After Officials Can’t Set IV Line

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Officials in Idaho on Wednesday, February 28, 2024, halted the execution of death row inmate and serial killer Thomas Creech. According to the state’s Department of Correction, the delay came after medical officers couldn’t set an intravenous line to carry out a lethal injection.

A picture of Thomas Creech
Source: NBCNews/X

The aborted execution, which was to be the state’s first in twelve years, is the latest example of a state botching an execution. However, the state struggled to carry out the lethal injection execution because of officials’ inability to establish an IV line. 

Similarly, Alabama, in 2022, called off two executions after officials couldn’t access the inmates’ veins. Following the struggle to establish an IV line, the Idaho Department of Correction Director Josh Tewalt deemed the execution of Creech “unable to proceed.”

According to reports, Tewalt consulted with the medical team and “determined that they could not establish an IV line.” Furthermore, the department said in a release that they would return Thomas Creech to his cell and escort witnesses out of the facility.

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ALSO READ: Appeals Court Panel Declines Calls To Delay Execution of Death Row Inmate

However, the release noted that the death warrant will expire. The release added, “The State will consider the next steps.” Idaho stopped Creech’s execution just hours before Texas executed death row inmate Ivan Cantu for two murders he claims he did not commit.

According to the Death Penalty Information Center, as of February 28, six more executions are set for this year. A court sentenced Creech, the longest-serving inmate on Idaho’s death row, to death in 1981.

According to a statement from the Ada County Prosecutor’s Office, Thomas Creech pleaded guilty to the murder of another inmate, David Jensen, while serving four life sentences. In addition, the court convicted Creech of four unrelated murders, the statement noted.

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Also, a court established that he killed six other victims, and he admitted to killing upwards of 40 people. In January 2024, the San Bernardino, California, sheriff’s department announced it solved a 50-year-old cold case.

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The county investigators determined Creech killed a young man, Daniel Walker. Hence, Creech’s execution proceeded after the US Supreme Court rejected a series of the inmate’s last-minute appeals.

Although executions are rare in Idaho, the state refused to reverse the ruling on Thomas Creech. Since 1976, the state has only carried out three, per the Death Penalty Information Center. Before Creech’s scheduled execution, the Idaho corrections medical team expressed confidence.

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Tewalt said in a news conference that the team was sure it could establish adequate access to Creech’s veins. However, he noted that in the execution chamber, the team tried eight times. “The team attempted eight times through multiple limbs,” he said. 

“And appendages to establish IV access consistent with the department’s policy.” Furthermore, Tewalt noted that in some instances, the team had “an access issue.” At other times, it could establish access but encountered a “vein quality issue.”

ALSO READ: Idaho Escalates Legal Battle, Bans Sex Change Procedures for Minors

“That made them not confident in their ability to administer chemicals through the IV site once established,” the director said. Hence, the state decided to halt the execution. Despite the botched execution, Tewalt highlighted the medical team’s competency.

“They did their level best in a professional way that was respectful of the process,” Tewalt said. “And when it appeared that those efforts were going to be unsuccessful, they did the right thing.” He added, “They opted to stop additional efforts so we could evaluate the next steps.”

According toTewalt, the department does not plan to proceed in the Thomas Creech case. “In terms of establishing when to seek another death warrant or if to seek another death warrant,” he said. “I think those discussions have to happen in the days ahead.”

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