Advertisement

Arizona carries out first execution since botched lethal injection in 2014

1/2
Clarence Dixon on Wednesday was the first person put to death in Arizona in eight years, and it was the state's first since the botched execution of Joseph Wood in 2014. Photo courtesy Arizona Attorney General's Office
Clarence Dixon on Wednesday was the first person put to death in Arizona in eight years, and it was the state's first since the botched execution of Joseph Wood in 2014. Photo courtesy Arizona Attorney General's Office

May 11 (UPI) -- The state of Arizona carried out its first execution in nearly a decade on Wednesday after the U.S. Supreme Court declined to issue a stay in the case.

Clarence Dixon, 66, was declared dead at 10:30 a.m., Frank Strada, deputy director of the Arizona Department of Corrections, told The Arizona Republic.

Advertisement

He was sentenced to death for the murder of 21-year-old Arizona State University student Deana Bowdoin in 1978. Dixon was connected to the slaying about two decades later with the enhancement of DNA testing while he'd already been serving a life sentence on a 1986 sexual assault conviction.

NBC News reported that Dixon proclaimed his innocence in his final statement.

RELATED Missouri executes man who confessed to killing elderly couple

"Maybe I'll see you on the other side, Deana. I don't know you and I don't remember you," he said.

His final meal consisted of Kentucky Fried Chicken, strawberry ice cream and bottled water.

Dixon's attorneys challenged plans by the Arizona Department of Corrections to use an expired supply of sodium pentobarbital for the execution. Older drugs, they said, could be less effective and result in a botched execution.

RELATED Tenn. Gov. Bill Lee suspends executions, launches review of lethal injections

After a hearing Monday, the state agreed to compound new lethal injection drugs for the Wednesday execution.

Advertisement

Arizona last put an inmate to death on July, 23, 2014, when Joseph Wood died in an execution that was botched. It took 15 doses of a new combination of drugs -- midazolam and hydromorphone -- and 2 hours for Wood to die.

Wood was the second inmate to be given the two-drug cocktail after Arizona lost its European supplier of pentobarbital. The European Union voted in 2011 to prohibit the sale of the drug to the United States because of its use in executions.

RELATED U.S. Supreme Court to hear Texas death row inmate's DNA retesting appeal

After Wood's death, the state decided to discontinue the combination of midazolam and hydromorphone, which effectively brought on a moratorium on executions until an alternate cocktail could be legally secured.

Last week, an Arizona judge ruled that Dixon was competent to be executed. In a court filing last month, Dixon's lawyers argued that the execution would violate the 8th Amendment -- which prohibits cruel and unusual punishment -- because he has a "well-documented history" of paranoid schizophrenia.

"Clarence Dixon has suffered from paranoid schizophrenia for decades and has delusions surrounding his upcoming execution," attorney Eric Zuckerman said.

"Although the record clearly shows that he is not mentally competent to be executed, the superior court's reliance on the discredited testimony of an unqualified expert who admitted to destroying the only recording of his interview with Mr. Dixon shortly before the hearing and to never asking Mr. Dixon why he believes he is being executed is deeply alarming."

Advertisement

Dixon had the option of being put to death in Arizona's gas chamber, but he declined. No death row inmate has died in the gas chamber in the United States in more than two decades. Arizona refurbished theirs a couple years ago as it became more difficult for corrections departments nationwide to procure drugs for lethal injections.

Latest Headlines

Advertisement
Advertisement

Follow Us

Advertisement