Updated February 29th, 2024 at 09:47 IST

Idaho Halts Execution by Lethal Injection after 8 Failed Attempts to Find Vein

Idaho halted the execution of a serial killer named Thomas Eugene Creech after a medical team repeatedly failed to find a vein to carry out the execution.

Reported by: Bhagyasree Sengupta
Josh Tewalt, director of the Idaho Department of Correction (IDOC) addresses the media after the planned execution of Thomas Eugene Creech was called off | Image:AP
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Kuna, Idaho – Idaho on Wednesday halted the execution of a serial killer named Thomas Eugene Creech after a medical team repeatedly failed to find a vein to carry out the execution using lethal injection. According to Politico, the 73-year-old was imprisoned in 1974 after being convicted of five murders in three states and suspected of several more. It is pertinent to note that Creech is one of the longest-serving death row inmates in the United States. Creech was initially serving a life sentence in an Idaho prison. However, he was awarded capital punishment after he killed a fellow inmate, 22-year-old David Dale Jensen, to death in 1981.

On Wednesday, the convict was wheeled into the execution chamber at the Idaho Maximum Security Institution on a gurney at 10 am (local time), Politico reported. Inside the chamber, three medical team members tried eight times to find a vein to establish an intravenous line for the execution. While in some cases the medics could not access the vein, in others they found the vein but were suspicious of its quality. While addressing in conference afterwards, Corrections Director Josh Tewalt stated that the medical team attempted to inject the lethal injection in his arms, legs, hands and feet. However, the warden eventually announced the halting of the execution at 10:58 am (local time). 

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Correction department to consider next steps 

In light of this, the Idaho Department of Corrections said that Creech's death warrant would expire and that the authorities are considering the next steps. Meanwhile, Creech’s attorneys immediately filed a new motion for a stay in the US District Court. The felon's lawyers stated that the “badly botched execution attempt” by the authorities proved 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. “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 statement further reads. It was important to note that the execution was supposed to be the first one conducted in the state of Idaho in 12 years. 

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Meanwhile, the correction department stated that the execution team was made up entirely of volunteers. In light of this, those tasked with inserting the IVs and administering the lethal drug had medical training. However, their identities were kept a secret. While in the execution chamber, Creech frequently looked toward his family members and representatives, who were sitting in a separate witness room. According to Politico, the convict even appeared to mouth “I love you” to someone in the room on occasion. While, medics were trying to find Creech's veins, a group of about 15 protesters had gathered outside the prison and at one point they started singing “Amazing Grace”. 

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Published February 29th, 2024 at 09:47 IST