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Arizona issues first execution warrant in 8 years for murder, sex assault convict

Clarence Dixon death row.png
Posted at 4:43 PM, Apr 05, 2022
and last updated 2022-04-06 01:43:04-04

PHOENIX — The Arizona Supreme Court has issued an execution warrant for Clarence Dixon, a man convicted of murder and sexual assault connected to a 1978 death.

On January 7, 1978, 21-year-old Deana Bowdoin, an ASU student, was sexually assaulted and stabbed to death in her Tempe apartment.

Bowdoin’s boyfriend went to her apartment after not hearing from her and found her stabbed to death with a belt around her neck.

The case went cold at the time, until about 20 years later when DNA connected Dixon to the murder. Dixon was already serving prison time for a separate 1986 sexual assault conviction.

It was later learned that Dixon had lived across the street from Deana Bowdoin at the time of her murder.

Dixon was sentenced to death after a jury found him guilty. He was indicted for Bowdoin’s murder in 2002 and he has exhausted all appeal options, according to the Attorney General’s Office.

This will be the first execution to happen in Arizona since 2014. There are currently more than 100 inmates on Arizona’s death row, and approximately 20 have exhausted all appeals, according to the Arizona Attorney General’s Office.

All executions were halted by a State Supreme Court Judge in 2014, after what some lawyers call the "botched" execution of death row prisoner Joseph Wood.

Wood was convicted of the murders of his estranged girlfriend and her father and sentenced to die in 1989. During his execution, a process that should have lasted for 10 minutes dragged on for two hours. After 15 injections of a lethal drug combination, Wood finally died.

Arizona will no longer be using the drug combination administered to Wood, however, many against the death penalty say other drugs have had their own complications and have not been researched well enough.

Dixon's execution is scheduled for May 11.