It’s been nearly 12 years since the last time that Idaho executed a prisoner on death row, but the state’s next execution could happen soon. The Idaho Commission of Pardons and Parole Board recently denied clemency for an inmate that’s been for 40 years. 

The ruling came just days after Thomas Creech was connected to a 1974 California cold case. San Bernardino Police believe that Creech was the unknown suspect that killed a motorist named Daniel Walker while he was sleeping in his van along I-40. 

Idaho Department of Correction
Idaho Department of Correction

Creech was already on death row for beating a fellow inmate to death with a sock full of batteries in 1981. The incident landed Creech on death row for a second time. He’d previously been on death row for killing two men in Valley County in the 1970s, but that sentence was reduced to life in prison. During that trial, he admitted to killing 42 people across several states. 

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Creech’s legal team believes that he’s turned his life around in prison and should have his sentence reduced to life in prison again, but the parole board disagreed. Following their ruling, Governor Little said:

Our court system convicted Creech, and he was lawfully sentenced to death. As Governor, I have zero intention of taking any action that would halt or delay Creech’s execution. His lawful and just sentence must be carried out as ordered by the court. Justice has been delayed long enough

Will Creech Get the Firing Squad?

Idahoans are like elephants. We don’t forget. Last year, Governor Little signed a bill reinstating a firing square as a method of execution in Idaho. The legislature introduced the bill because the state has had a difficult time obtaining the chemicals needed to carry out an execution by lethal injection.


It appears that the firing squad won’t be Creech’s fate. In October 2023, the Idaho Department of Correction said they did indeed have the necessary chemicals to execute Creech. Had it not been for the clemency hearing, it would’ve happened on November 8. 

Idaho’s Death Row Could Grow Soon

Currently, there are seven other inmates on death row with Creech but that number could grow as two high profile cases move forward. 


While the death penalty was off the table for Lori Vallow, her husband Chad Daybell could still be sentenced to death following the verdict in his murder trial. Daybell faces an additional charge of first-degree murder for the death of his first wife, Tammy Daybell, which Lori didn’t face. The judge ruled against taking the death penalty off the penalty back in December 2023. His trial is scheduled to begin in Ada County on April 1. 


Bryan Kohberger, the man accused of killing four University of Idaho students at their off campus home in November 2022, could also be sentenced to death if he’s found guilty of the crimes. His legal team has unsuccessfully tried to have the grand jury indictment against him thrown out several times. Right now, it looks like he may head to trial in Summer 2025. The defense thinks they need more time to plan for a capital punishment trial and the prosecution agrees that it’s best to have the trial while the university is on summer break. 

Who Are Idaho’s Eight Death Row Inmates?

Kohberger and Daybell could be joining these eight individuals. Here’s who they are and how they landed themselves on death row. 

The 8 Criminals on Idaho's Death Row and Their Disgusting Crimes

Held in their 12'x7' cells 23 hours a day, these are the seven people currently on death row in Idaho. Idaho has performed three executions since 1977.

Gallery Credit: Michelle Heart

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