NO EXECUTION: Thomas Creech execution unable to proceed after trouble placing IV line

The death warrant will now expire as the state determines next steps
Posted at 11:40 AM, Feb 28, 2024
and last updated 2024-02-29 10:56:17-05

Thomas Creech, a convicted killer and mass murderer was set to be put to death by lethal injection at 10 a.m. on Wednesday, February 28th before the execution was deemed unable to proceed. This article will be updated continuously with details as they are made available.

UPDATE: At 4:45 p.m. Idaho News 6 received a statement from Attorney General Labrador saying in part:
"Justice has now been delayed again, following the medical inability to execute Thomas Creech. Today is a sad day for the families of his victims, and a continuation of the pain they have endured for almost five decades. Our duty is to seek justice for the many victims and their families who experienced the brutality and senselessness of his actions."

UPDATE: At 2:45 p.m. Governor Brad Little issued the following statement about the execution proceedings for Thomas Creech this morning.

“IDOC officials are experienced and well prepared for a variety of situations that can arise during lethal injection execution. The team of professionals at IDOC was prepared for the possibility that medical professionals would not be able to access the inmate's veins, a circumstance that has occurred in execution procedures elsewhere in the country. The competent and qualified medical professionals present and IDOC officials were cautious and did the right thing in not moving forward with the execution. My office will remain in close communication with IDOC about next steps," Governor Little said.

UPDATE: At 11 a.m., the medical team working on Creech's execution confirmed that they were not able to establish an IV line, causing the execution to be unable to proceed. It was announced that Creech will be returned to his cell as his death warrant expires.

The state is considering next steps as Thomas Creech narrowly avoids his execution.

RELATED | Creech's defense responds to failed execution

Shortly after the announcement that the execution had failed, a press conference was held to release more information on the situation.

During the press conference, it was clarified that the medical team was encountering a vein access issue with their lethal injection attempts, but in cases where they were able to establish access they encountered vein quality problems. The execution was halted after the medical team determined that IV access was unlikely to be established.

Idaho Department of Correction's director Josh Tewalt expressed his confidence in the medical team as he introduced the press conference, highlighting the training and preparation efforts by the team ahead of the execution.

"I think it would be wrong to call it a failure," said Director Tewalt. "They did their level best in a professional way that was respectful of the process and when it appeared that those efforts were going to be unsuccessful, they did the right thing and opted to stop additional efforts."

Media witnesses to the execution gave accounts of the procedure, describing the scene as the medical team was unable to establish an IV line. Idaho News 6's Roland Beres explained in his account that Creech did not seem to be in pain but may have experienced some discomfort during the process.

Following the press conference, a statement was released by the American Civil Liberties Union of Idaho condemning the death penalty and calling Idaho authorities to commute Creech's sentence to life in prison.

“The failed execution of Thomas Creech calls attention to additional reasons why the government should not be in the business of executing people," said ACLU of Idaho Executive Director Leo Morales. "The system is inhumane, cruel, traumatizing, and ineffective, all while spending millions of dollars in a process that could have instead provided relief to murdered victim’s families. The ACLU of Idaho is against the death penalty in any situation, and today’s botched execution is just one additional reason."

As far as next steps go, Creech's death warrant is set to expire at 11:59 p.m. on Feb. 28th and officials are unsure if they will seek a new death warrant. Creech has been moved back to his cell in F-block as arrangements are being made for his long-term placement following the failed execution.

As of 10 a.m., all witnesses have been briefed on the execution process and have been escorted to the chamber viewing area. The execution is expected to start momentarily.

The state and media witnesses to the execution are:
State Witnesses:

  • Raul Labrador, Attorney General
  • Jan Bennetts, Ada County Prosecutor
  • Matt Clifford, Ada County Sheriff
  • Dodds Hayden, Board of Correction
  • Jared Larsen, Governor’s Office
  • Phil Skinner, AG Chief of Staff

Media Witnesses:

  • Roland Beres, KIVI
  • Brenda Rodriguez, KTVB
  • Rebecca Boone, Associated Press
  • Scott McIntosh, Idaho Statesman

Execution protesters have been seen outside the statehouse ahead of Creech's execution.
RELATED | One last effort: Protesters deliver petition to stop Creech's execution

Less than two hours before Creech's execution, the U.S. Supreme Court has declined to block his execution from being stopped or delayed. His death is scheduled for 10 a.m. February 28.

In preparation for today's execution, Creech visited with his wife and his religious advisor throughout the evening and into the morning.

For his last meal, Creech had fried chicken, mashed potatoes with gravy, corn, dinner rolls, and ice cream.