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Idaho inmate's legal team asks Governor to delay his execution

A white table with black straps at the end and on the arm rests. It is in a carpeted room with plain walls.
Jessie L. Bonne
Associated Press
The execution chamber at the Idaho Maximum Security Institution is shown on Thursday, Oct. 20, 2011 in Boise, Idaho. Paul Ezra Rhoades, who was convicted of killing three people in Idaho Falls and Blackfoot in 1988, is scheduled to be executed by lethal injection on Nov. 18, 2011.

Idaho’s longest-serving death row inmate Thomas Creech has been issued a death warrant again. In November, a death warrant issued by the state was put on hold while Creech’s legal team asked the Parole Commission to change his death sentence to life in prison without a chance for parole.

On Monday, Commissioners released their split decision. Three agreed the death sentence wasn’t appropriate and three denied the request for a commutation. A seventh commissioner did not vote.

In a statement released Wednesday, Creech’s legal team said he was denied the opportunity to convince the recused commissioner to vote in his favor and asked Governor Brad Little to delay his execution until a seventh Commissioner could be installed to weigh in on the case.

“Had seven Commissioners been present for Mr. Creech’s hearing, as was supposed to be the case, then he would have had the chance to persuade one more person to vote for life,” wrote Federal Defender Jonah Horwitz in a letter addressed to Little.

“There is nothing about justice or fairness that makes a tied outcome equivalent to a vote for death as opposed to a vote for life,” he said.

The governor is not required to follow Commissioners recommendations. On Monday, Little stated he had zero intention of stopping or delaying Creech’s execution.

“Thomas Creech is a convicted serial killer responsible for acts of extreme violence. Our court system convicted Creech, and he was lawfully sentenced to death,” the governor’s statement said.

“His lawful and just sentence must be carried out as ordered by the court. Justice has been delayed long enough,” he added.

Creech was convicted for a 1974 double murder in Valley County and for killing an inmate while incarcerated in 1981. The judge who sentenced him to death row in 1995 has since stated he did not think execution was appropriate anymore.

Idaho code mandates the execution date be set within 30 days of a death warrant. Creech is set to be executed by the state on Feb. 28, 2024.

Read the full statement from Creech’s legal team here:

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