Arizona executes prisoner Clarence Dixon, first execution since 2014

Clarence Dixon was put to death in Arizona on Wednesday.

Clarence Dixon was put to death in Arizona on Wednesday after being convicted of killing 21-year-old Arizona State University student Deana Bowdoin in 1978.

Arizona Department of Corrections via Associated Press

The state of Arizona performed an execution for the first time in nearly eight years. Clarence Dixon was put to death Wednesday after being convicted of killing 21-year-old Arizona State University student Deana Bowdoin in 1978.

ABC News reported that Bowdoin’s sister, Leslie James, spoke to the press after the execution and said that her late mother’s wish was that her sister’s name be remembered. James also commented on the length of the process leading to Dixon’s execution, saying, “It was way too long. This process was way, way, way too long.”

James described her sister as an amazing poet and a kind person, per ABC News. James said, “She was the one who was supposed to have an exciting career, get married and produce grandkids for my mom. But it didn’t work out that way for her. We should have been able to grow old together.”

Dixon was executed by lethal injection. The Associated Press reports that the process of administering the lethal drugs took about 25 minutes. The medical team first attempted to inject the drugs into Dixon arms and then made an incision in his groin area to administer the injection. After administering the injection, the execution was completed in about 10 minutes.

Before Dixon’s execution, a group affiliated with Death Penalty Alternatives for Arizona protested outside of the state prison, per The Arizona Republic. Kat Jutras, the state advocacy director of Death Penalty Alternatives, stated, “Clarence has a very well documented record of mental illness, severe mental illness … and the last 44 years he hasn’t had any adequate treatment or access and he’s been incarcerated during that time.”

After the execution, Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey issued the following statement, per The Arizona Republic: “Today the family of Deana Bowdoin was provided the justice they’ve long been waiting for. The void left by Deana’s murder 44 years ago will never be filled, but the sentence carried out this morning is a solemn reminder that we are a nation of laws and it is the responsibility of the state to enforce them.”

Arizona’s eight-year hiatus of the use of the death penalty followed a lethal injection that some said was botched, according to The Associated Press.

In 2014, Joseph Wood was on death row for the 1989 murders of his ex-girlfriend and her father. After the injection was administered, Wood’s attorney Dale Baich described how “it took Joseph Wood two hours to die, and he gasped and struggled to breathe for about an hour and forty minutes. Arizona appears to have joined several other states who have been responsible for an entirely preventable horror — a bungled execution.”

Another execution, of death-row prisoner Frank Atwood, is scheduled to take place in Arizona on June 8, according to The Associated Press.

Hanna Seariac

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