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Eye On Boise

Idaho’s Death Row now down to nine, after Stuart’s sentence reduced to life

Idaho’s Death Row is down to nine offenders, one woman and eight men, now that Gene Francis Stuart has had his sentence reduced to life in prison without the possibility of parole. Stuart pleaded guilty to murder by torture in the 1981 beating death of 3-year-old Robert Miller, the son of Stuart’s then girlfriend, and was sentenced to death, but after appeals, was granted a new sentencing hearing in 2013. The Lewiston Tribune reports he’s now agreed to a plea bargain in which he will never be released from prison and he gives up all rights to appeal.

Those remaining on Idaho’s Death Row are Azad Abdullah, sentenced to death in 2004 for the murder by arson of his wife, Angie; David Card, sentenced to death in 1989 for the shooting deaths of two people in Canyon County; Thomas Creech, sentenced to death in 1983 for the beating death of another inmate while serving a life sentence for two other murders; Timothy Dunlap, sentenced to death in 1992 for killing a woman during a bank robbery in Caribou County; Zane Fields, sentenced to death in 1991 for a murder by stabbing in Ada County; James Hairston, sentenced to death in 1996 for shooting two people to death in Bannock County; Erick Hall, sentenced to death in 2004 for raping and murdering two women in Ada County; Gerald Pizzuto, sentenced to death in 1986 for beating two people to death in Idaho County; and Robin Row, sentenced to death in 1993 for the murders by arson of her husband, son and daughter in Ada County.

Idaho has carried out three executions since the state’s death penalty was reinstated in 1977: Keith Wells in 1994, who waived his appeals and asked that his execution be carried out; Paul Ezra Rhoades in 2011; and Richard Leavitt in 2012.

Two former Idaho Death Row inmates were released: Charles Fain was exonerated and released in 2001, after serving 18 years; and Donald Paradis moved off Death Row in 1996 after his sentence was commuted amid questions about his original conviction; he was released in 2001 after pleading guilty to being an accessory to murder.

Idaho’s Death Row inmates are kept in their cells 23 hours a day. They have the option of being in an outside recreation area for one hour a day. The only other time they are out of their 12-foot by seven-foot cells is when they are escorted to the shower, meeting with an attorney or being given medical care; there’s more info here.



Betsy Z. Russell
Betsy Z. Russell joined The Spokesman-Review in 1991. She currently is a reporter in the Boise Bureau covering Idaho state government and politics, and other news from Idaho's state capital.

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