Thomas Eugene Creech, one of Idaho’s longest-held Death Row occupants, has again been resentenced to die for the May 1981 murder of a fellow inmate.
Fourth District Judge Robert Newhouse on Monday rejected arguments that Creech was a man changed by the love of a woman he married by phone from the prison three years ago.
Creech, 44, has been on Death Row since January 1982 after pleading guilty to killing David Dale Jensen, 23, who was beaten to death with a sock full of batteries. Only Thomas Henry Gibson and Lacey Sivak have been awaiting execution longer.
But the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals reversed Creech’s sentence in March 1991, ruling that the Idaho law allowing the death penalty when a killer shows “utter disregard for human life” was unconstitutionally vague.
His new death sentence automatically will be reviewed by the Idaho Supreme Court.
Creech, a former church sexton in Oregon, also was convicted of a 1974 double murder in Valley County and another murder in Oregon. At times he has claimed a role in 42 other slayings.
It was the appeal of his death sentence on the 1974 murders that resulted in the Idaho Supreme Court voiding the state’s death penalty law in October 1977 to comply with U.S. Supreme Court directives on capital punishment.
Creech argued during a sentencing hearing last month that the woman he married in April 1992 via a phone link to the Idaho Maximum Security Institution helped him give up violence.
Sherry Miller Creech began writing to Creech from her Mississippi home in 1986. She moved to Boise three years later and he proposed. Now they keep in touch through letters, telephone calls and her daily drive by the prison.
Creech said he spots his wife’s car each morning from his cell. He waves a towel and she sees him through binoculars.
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