Supreme Court rejects Idaho serial killer Thomas Creech's Stay of Execution Request

Written by Henrik Rothen

Feb.28 - 2024 5:14 PM CET

Supreme Court rejects Idaho serial killer Thomas Creech's Stay of Execution Request.

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The U.S. Supreme Court declined to intervene in the scheduled execution of Thomas Creech, a man with a long history on death row, linked to numerous murders. Creech, aged 73, was slated for execution for the murder of David Jensen, a fellow inmate, which he committed using a sock filled with batteries. This incident occurred while Creech was already serving a sentence for four other murders, and he is suspected in the involvement of over two dozen additional murders.

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Creech's plea to the Supreme Court was to halt his execution on the grounds that his death sentence was imposed not by a jury, but by a single judge, a practice that has since been abolished. Despite his argument, the Supreme Court did not provide a reason for its denial of Creech's request, and no dissents were recorded against this decision.

Idaho, where Creech's execution was scheduled, is among the few states that continued judge-sentenced executions until the Supreme Court ruled them unconstitutional in 2002. Since the ruling, the practice has seen a decline, with Colorado abolishing the death penalty altogether and Arizona pausing executions. Creech argued that the rarity of judge-sentenced executions reflects a shift in societal standards, questioning the constitutionality of his sentence under the Eighth Amendment.

Creech's efforts to challenge his sentence extended beyond the Supreme Court. He sought to have an Idaho court reconsider his execution on the grounds of being judge-sentenced, but his case was quickly dismissed. His subsequent appeal to the Idaho Supreme Court was also unsuccessful. His legal team argued that the state’s review process for post-conviction claims fails to provide adequate consideration for legitimate constitutional grievances, a concern they claim has become increasingly critical as other avenues for relief narrow.

Despite these efforts, Idaho maintained that the Supreme Court lacked jurisdiction, suggesting Creech still had potential recourse within the state's legal system. The state also downplayed the significance of Creech's case, suggesting he was merely seeking clarification on procedural standards.

Creech's criminal history spans multiple states and decades, beginning with his connection to a murder in Arizona in 1974. His narrative is complicated by his own admissions, including a drug-fueled confession to his former defense attorney about his involvement in a satanic motorcycle gang, leading to claims of 42 murders. However, discrepancies in his stories, including confessions to murders that never occurred, have cast doubt on the exact number of his victims. Creech's legal team has also contested his connection to certain crimes, arguing that his confessions were unreliable.