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Serial killer survives lethal injection attempt

via Idaho Police Dept.
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Convicted serial killer Thomas Creech survived his scheduled lethal injection in Idaho last month when executioners spent an hour unsuccessfully trying to find a suitable vein.

Creech is one of the US’s longest-serving death row inmates, having received multiple death sentences since 1974 for various murders.

Experts like Fordham Law School Professor Deborah Denno attribute the issues with lethal injection to reliance on drugs no longer produced domestically and lack of transparency around executioner training/credentials.

“The elephant in the room is this has happened so many times. Why weren’t they more prepared?” Denno said.

She argues the firing squad is a more reliable, dignified method based on its track record.

Alabama’s recent experiment with nitrogen hypoxia went gruesomely wrong, with the inmate convulsing for 22 minutes until death, showing uncertainties around new untested methods.

“We have every detail on the last meal that these inmates eat. There are articles written down to how many packets of ketchup they use,” she said. “And we just don’t have any details on the actual execution process, but they certainly could be provided while protecting people’s anonymity. And I do think drug companies should be known. We should know where the drugs are coming from.”

Given problems with injections and doubts around emerging technologies, Denno and others believe states should offer inmates the choice of a firing squad, which has reliably killed prisoners quickly in the past.

Creech’s latest execution attempt highlights the difficulties states face in carrying out capital punishment through lethal injection.

“We’ve had three modern firing squad executions, and they have gone off as intended, and the inmate has died quickly and with dignity,” she said. “So, I think that is something to emphasize.”

“I think it’s pretty telling that even though some states have presented bills to their legislatures about nitrogen hypoxia, no other state has adopted it since Alabama carried out that execution,” Denno said. “And you can understand why. It was a highly flawed execution, very visibly flawed.”

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