Idaho to Execute Serial Killer

Thomas Creech—who murdered at least six people, was sentenced to death in 1974, and then killed a fellow prison inmate in 1981—is finally facing execution on Wednesday in Idaho, as reported by the Associated Press. Last Friday, a panel of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals rejected Creech’s claim that he should not be executed because he was sentenced for killing the inmate by a judge rather than a jury. While investigators believe that Creech murdered 11 people, he has only faced trial for six.

Creech’s first victim was 70-year-old retiree Paul Schrader, who he stabbed to death in Tuscon. After killing him, he used his victim’s credit cards and vehicle to flee to Portland, Oregon. He used a mental defense, was acquitted for that murder, and was committed to an Oregon mental hospital. In 1974, on a weekend pass,  Creech traveled to Sacramento and killed Vivian Grant Robinson at her home. The crime went unsolved until Creech confessed while in custody in Idaho. He was convicted of Robinson’s murder in 1980.

Back in 1974, after his release from the mental hospital, he shot and killed 22-year-old William Joseph Dean. Authorities also believe he shot Sandra Jane Ramsamooj at an Oregon grocery store. In November of that year, Creech and a girlfriend were hitchhiking in Idaho when they were picked up by two house painters, Thomas Arnold and John Bradford. He fatally shot both men and took their vehicle. His girlfriend identified Creech as the killer after his arrest. While in custody for those murders, Creech led police to the bodies of Gordon Lee Stanton and Charles Thomas Miller near Las Vegas and Rick Stewart McKenzie in Wyoming. Creech was convicted and received Idaho’s mandatory death sentence for murdering the two painters.

In 1976, the U.S. Supreme Court outlawed mandatory death sentences and Creech’s sentenced was converted to life without parole.  In 1981, while serving that sentence, Creech beat a disabled inmate to death with a battery-filled sock. He was convicted of his murder and was once again sentenced to death.

Creech filed multiple (failed) appeals, claiming ineffective assistance of counsel and challenging Idaho’s lethal injection process.

His lawyers and sympathizers insist that he is a different person today, a kind and gentle old-timer with a fondness for poetry.

It is appalling that this killer, who left bodies in four states, has been allowed to become an old-timer by a painfully slow appeals process.  Here’s hoping that justice is finally served for his victims tomorrow.

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