Execution of serial killer by lethal injection halted in Idaho. Here’s why | Trending - Hindustan Times
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Execution of serial killer by lethal injection halted in Idaho. Here’s why

AP | | Edited by Trisha Sengupta
Feb 29, 2024 10:48 AM IST

73-year-old Thomas Eugene Creech was sentenced to death after he beat his 22-year-old fellow inmate to death in 1981.

The execution of serial killer Thomas Eugene Creech, scheduled to take place on February 28, was halted. The warden at the Idaho Maximum Security Institution took this decision after the medical team failed to establish an intravenous line to carry out the lethal injection.

This image shows Thomas Eugene Creech, a serial killer, whose execution was halted. (AP)
This image shows Thomas Eugene Creech, a serial killer, whose execution was halted. (AP)

73-year-old Creech is one of the longest-serving death row inmates in the US. He is serving jail time after being convicted of five murders. However, he got the death sentence when he beat a fellow inmate to death in 1981. He killed 22-year-old David Dale Jensen who was specially abled and was in prison for car theft.

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Hailing from Ohio, Creech was acquitted of a murder in 1973 despite authorities believing he was the perpetrator. In 1974, he killed two people - one in Oregon and another in California. Later that year, he was arrested in Idaho after killing two house painters, John Wayne Bradford and Edward Thomas Arnold, who gave a lift to him and his girlfriend. While in prison convicted of the crimes he committed, he killed Jensen.

He was taken to the execution chamber at the Idaho Maximum Security Institution on a gurney at 10:00 am on February 28, where a three-member medical team was supposed to carry out the death sentence with lethal injection.

According to Josh Tewalt, director of the Department of Correction, the medical team tried eight times to establish an IV but couldn’t access the vein or had concerns about the vein quality. They attempted to find a suitable vein in his arms, legs, and feet. Finally, the warden halted the execution at 10:58 am.

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Creech’s attorneys filed a new motion for a stay in US District Court. They argued that the correctional department’s “badly botched execution attempt" proves their “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. “This is precisely the kind of mishap we warned the State and the Courts could happen when attempting to execute one of the country’s oldest death-row inmates.”

The day before the execution, Creech was served his last meal of fried chicken, mashed potatoes, gravy and ice cream. He also spent time with his wife.

(With inputs from AP)

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