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As Idaho prepares to execute Thomas Creech, opponents rally against the death penalty

Opponents of the death penalty gathered on the steps of the Capitol to protest the upcoming execution of Thomas Creech by the State of Idaho
Julie Luchetta
Boise State Public Radio
Opponents of the death penalty gathered on the steps of the Capitol to protest the upcoming execution of Thomas Creech by the State of Idaho

Idaho is scheduled to execute Thomas Creech, its longest serving death row inmate, on Wednesday morning after years of legal back and forth.

On Tuesday, opponents of the death penalty gathered in front of the Capitol to protest Creech’s execution and deliver a petition asking Gov. Brad Little to spare his life.

About a dozen people stood on the steps of the capitol with signs reading “Thou shall not kill,” “Life is precious” and “Remember the victim but not with more killing,” while speakers took turn at a microphone.

ACLU Director Leo Morales said the death penalty was inhumane and the U.S. is one of the last Western countries still executing inmates, alongside other governments in China, Saudi Arabia and Iran.

“It is time to evolve our standards of human decency and do away with cruel and unusual punishment,” he said.

United Methodist Reverend Karen Hernandez spoke to the silent crowd, saying Creech was made in the image and likeness of God.

“Life is a gift and blessing from our creator. Life is not ours to take or to end,” she said. “Even when it's all gussied up with legal justifications and very real grief and righteous anger.”

She said she believed in accountability and punishment but said “the death penalty is still murder.”

The group then delivered a petition with 7,000 signatures to the office of the Governor asking for the execution to be halted, a move Little said in a January press release he has no intention of making.

Thomas Creech is sitting on what appears to be the lower bunk bed in a cell. Next to him is a guitar and personal belongings leaning against the wall. He is looking directly at the camera. He is wearing a red t-shirt, grey pants and slippers. Date unknown.
Death Penalty Action
Thomas Creech, Idaho's longest serving death row inmate, is set to be killed by the state on Wednesday February 28th after years of legal back and forth.

Director of the advocacy group Death Penalty Action Abraham Borowitz has been touring the state in the week leading to the execution to speak out against killing Creech. He said the people who oppose the execution come from all walks of life.

“The problem is that none of these voices seem to matter. It's on autoplay, and the only place it can be stopped at this point is in the courts,” he said. “We don't need executions to be safe and to hold dangerous offenders accountable,” he added, calling them governmental overreach.

Religious leaders, advocates and community leaders also plan to protest in front of the prison and the state Capitol on Wednesday. Bonowitz said churches are invited to ring their bells at the time of the scheduled execution.

“This is a way for the community to express itself and to say out loud, ‘we oppose the death penalty’,” he said. “It's being done in your name and in the name of the taxpayers. And people should be aware.”

Julie Luchetta
Boise State Public Radio

In a press release, Little said he had “zero intention of taking any action that would halt or delay Creech’s execution,” adding Creech’s sentence was lawful and just.

“Justice has been delayed long enough,” he said.

Creech was sentenced to death for killing an inmate in 1981 while serving time for a 1974 double murder. While in custody, he confessed to several other killings and authorities have linked him to murders in multiple states.

His execution by lethal injection is set to take place at 10 a.m. Wednesday.

As of Tuesday night, his defense team still had several appeals pending in state and federal courts.

As the Canyon County reporter, I cover the Latina/o/x communities and agricultural hub of the Treasure Valley. I’m super invested in local journalism and social equity, and very grateful to be working in Idaho.

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