Idaho fails to execute five-time murder convict Thomas Eugene Creech

The state of Idaho was unable to execute Thomas Eugene Creech on Wednesday, one of the longest-serving death row inmates in the U.S.

Medical personnel administering the lethal injection failed to establish an IV line despite trying for roughly an hour. The U.S. Supreme Court had denied all motions to block the process on Wednesday morning, allowing the execution to move forward. The death warrant is now being allowed to expire and will need to be renewed for a later attempt.

The state of Idaho failed to execute Thomas Eugene Creech on Thursday, one of the longest-serving death row inmates in the U.S. (Associated Press)

Prior to the failed execution, Creech was allowed to spend time with his wife the night before. He asked for fried chicken, mashed potatoes, gravy and ice cream as his final meal.

The execution would have been Idaho's first instance of capital punishment in 12 years.

Idaho Gov. Brad Little signed legislation last year authorizing the use of a firing squad as a method of execution if lethal injection is deemed unavailable. It is unclear whether Wednesday's failure would meet that standard.


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Creech has been convicted of five murders spanning three states, and he is suspected of committing a number of others. He has been in prison since 1974.

He was originally sentenced to death for fatally shooting John Wayne Bradford and Edward Thomas Arnold, who picked him up while he was hitchhiking. That punishment, however, was changed to life in prison after the state’s sentencing law was found unconstitutional.

Then, in 1983, he was sentenced to death for the murder of fellow inmate David Dale Jensen. Jensen was 22, disabled and serving time for a car theft when Creech attacked him with a battery-filled sock on May 13, 1981.

Creech requested the presence of an Episcopal bishop the morning of his execution. Creech was allowed to wear a crucifix during the procedure, and the bishop was allowed to rest his hand on his shoulder throughout the process.


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It is unclear exactly how long state personnel attempted to administer the lethal injection.

Creech's wife was also allowed to sit in the witness area within his view. The state's witnesses sent to the execution included Ada County Prosecutor Jan Bennetts; Dodds Hayden of the Board of Corrections; Jared Larsen of the Governor’s office; Ada County Sheriff Matt Clifford; Attorney General Raul Labrador and Phil Skinner, the AG's chief of staff.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.