Execution of serial killer in Idaho halted, eight times they failed to hit his vein with an injection

Thomas Eugene Creech / Photo YouTube

Authorities in Idaho yesterday halted the execution of serial killer Thomas Eugene Creech, one of the longest-serving men on death row. The medical team was unable to find the vein to administer the lethal injection. Creech, 73, was imprisoned in 1974 and convicted of five murders in three states and suspected of several more. He was already serving a life sentence when he beat his roommate, 1981-year-old David Dale Jensen, to death in 22.

This is exactly the crime for which Creech is to be executed more than four decades later. Creech was brought to the prison's execution chamber at 10 a.m. local time. Jail director Josh Tewalt said at a news conference that three members of the medical team tried to inject him eight times.

On several occasions they could not reach the vein, and in those cases where they could, they were concerned about the quality of the vein. They looked for veins on the convict's arms, legs and feet. At one point, a member of the medical team went to get more supplies, it says The Guardian.

At 10:58 the doctors "raised their hands". The prison said it is considering next steps. Creech's lawyers immediately filed a new request for a stay of execution in US District Court, noting that the "miserably botched execution attempt" demonstrates 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 executions," the Idaho Department of Defense said in a written statement.

Six Idaho officials, including Attorney General Raul Labrador, and four members of the media, including an Associated Press reporter, attended the execution attempt.

It was supposed to be the first execution in the mentioned federal state after 12 years. The prison confirmed that the execution team was made up entirely of volunteers. Those tasked with finding the vein and giving the injection received medical training, but their identities were kept secret.

With each attempt to inject, the medical team cleaned the skin with alcohol, injected the lethal solution, cleaned the skin again and then tried to successfully hit the vein. Each attempt lasted several minutes.

Creech looked frequently at his family members and representatives, who were sitting in a separate witness room. His hands were tied to the table. He seemed to occasionally say "I love you" to someone in the room. After the execution was stopped, the warden approached Creech and whispered something to him, shaking his hand.

Born in Ohio, Creech spent the vast majority of his life behind bars in Idaho, although his crimes occurred in several western states. He was first imprisoned in Idaho in 1974 for the murders of John Wayne Bradford and Edward Thomas Arnold, two fellow painters who stopped Creech and his girlfriend waiting for a hitchhiker.

He is serving a life sentence for those murders in 1981, when he beat Jensen to death. Jensen was disabled and served time for car theft. Creech's supporters called for his sentence to be commuted to life without parole, saying he is a changed man.

Former prison staff claimed that Creech was known for writing poetry and often thanked them for their work. During the clemency hearing, Ada County Deputy Prosecutor Jill Longhorst did not dispute that Creech could be charming.

However, she pointed out that he is a psychopath without a trace of remorse or empathy. Creech was also convicted of the 1974 murders of William Joseph Dean in Oregon and Vivian Grant Robinson in California.

In 1973, he was also tried for the murder of 70-year-old Paul Schrader in Tucson, Arizona, but was acquitted of the crime. Authorities still believe he is responsible for Schrader's death and say Creech provided information that led them to find the bodies of two people near Las Vegas and one person near Buggs, Wyoming.

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