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Idaho Prison Botches Lethal Injection of Serial Killer

For nearly an hour, Thomas Eugene Creech lay strapped to a table in an Idaho execution chamber as medical team members poked and prodded at his arms and legs, hands and feet, trying to find a vein through which they could end his life. After eight attempts Wednesday, the prison warden told them to give up. The botched lethal injection was the latest in a string of difficulties states have had carrying out such executions since Texas became the first state to use the method in 1982, the Associated Press reports. The efforts were made by three medical-team members, all volunteers. In some cases, they couldn’t access the vein, and in others they could but had concerns about vein quality.

Creech, a 73-year-old serial killer who has been in prison for half a century, was returned to his cell — for how much longer, no one knows. Creech’s death warrant, issued by Fourth Judicial District Judge Jason Scott, said his execution had to be carried out by 11:59 p.m. on Wednesday. When the morning effort to execute him failed, his attorneys rushed to file a new request for a stay in federal court, before the state could try again, saying “the badly botched execution attempt” proves the department’s “inability to carry out a humane and constitutional execution.” Afterward, Josh Tewalt, the corrections director, quickly announced the state would not try again Wednesday. The death warrant is now expired. The state will have to obtain another if it wants to carry out the execution.

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