Prolific serial killer implicated in 50-year-old San Bernardino County cold case murder

Editor’s note: This story was updated to clarify the allegations and to add a statement from Creech’s attorney.

A nearly 50-year-old cold case from San Bernardino County has been solved, officials said, and they believe the culprit is a serial killer currently on death row in Idaho.

Daniel Ashton Walker was fatally shot in his van as it was parked along the 40 Freeway about 62 miles west of Needles on Oct. 1, 1974, according to the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department.

His passenger, who was not shot, escaped and flagged down help, but Walker succumbed to his injuries. He was two weeks short of his 22nd birthday.

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All leads in the case were exhausted and the case went cold until Nov. 15, 2023, when the SBSD resumed the investigation and cold case detectives “obtained additional information related to the murder.”

That information led to the identification of Thomas Eugene Creech as Walker’s killer, the Sheriff’s Department alleges.

That information was confirmed when SBSD detectives were able to corroborate “intimate details from statements Creech made regarding Daniel’s murder” with the Ada County District Attorney’s Office in Idaho, the SBSD said.

Creech, 73, has admitted to 42 killings, according to the Associated Press. He’s been on death row since 1983, making him the longest-serving death row inmate in Idaho.

Creech’s public defender claims the allegations, which were leveled at a recent clemency hearing, aren’t supported by the evidence.

“The announcement by the San Bernardino Sheriff that Thomas Creech is a ‘suspect’ in Daniel Walker’s death only underscores how false and irresponsible it was for the Ada County prosecutors to claim at last Friday’s clemency hearing that the case was ‘closed’ and Mr. Creech was guilty,” said attorney Deborah A. Czuba.

Czuba claims law enforcement has “the thinnest of cases,” lacks “any real evidence” and “relies entirely on unspecified ‘intimate details’ supposedly provided by Mr. Creech a long time ago that are for unexplained reasons just being revealed now, decades later.”

“These details somehow now make Mr. Creech a new suspect in a crime that has never been tied to him, despite several efforts to link it to him as far back as 1975, when teams of federal and local law enforcement officials were determined to prove the fantasy that he committed 50 murders,” Czuba claims.

Instead, Creech’s attorneys hope the Parole Commission will grant Creech clemency.

“The prosecutors’ distortions prove how desperate they are to focus on fabrications from the 1970s rather than deal with the undeniable fact that Mr. Creech has become a remorseful, compassionate person with deep support from correctional staff, religious leaders, the many friends he’s made, and even the judge who sentenced him to death,” Czuba said. “We are confident the Parole Commission will see through the prosecutors’ ruse and judge Mr. Creech based on the man he is in 2024, whose execution would accomplish nothing but more death and devastation.”

Anyone with information about Walker’s murder is asked to contact SBSD Detective Justin Carty at 909-890-4904. Callers can remain anonymous and contact WeTip at 800-78CRIME or wetip.com.

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