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Advocates hope for 'Hail Mary,' with execution hours away

Posted at 10:22 PM, May 10, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-11 01:22:36-04

PHOENIX — A handful of people gathered outside the Arizona State Capitol Tuesday evening, hoping to bring awareness and justice for those on death row, including Clarence Dixon.

Dixon is just hours away from being put to death.

"Hopefully, there is a Hail Mary situation that happens that may save Clarence's life but on the off chance, he won't be there in spirit alone," said Kat Jutras, state advocacy director for Death Penalty Alternatives for Arizona.

Groups joined together in solidarity just hours before Arizona's first execution in about eight years.

Jutras says the state failed to prevent future crime for Dixon.

"He's a real person," said Jutras. "He has feelings and emotions like everybody else and he's been incarcerated the last 44 years of his life. He's 66. Now, he's completely blind. He will not have any visual idea of what's going on. On top of the fact that he has schizophrenia. He's in and out of reality."

Dixon has been behind bars for the 1978 murder of ASU student Deana Bowdoin.

Tuesday night a federal appeals court rejected a request to postpone Dixon's planned execution.Those who oppose the death penalty hope top officials will change their mind.

"I will always hold out for hope," said Jutras. "But I'm very aware that this campaign will not end until we can assure that every Arizonan on death row is safe."

But as some argue against the death penalty in Arizona, others see it as a chance to get justice which had been delayed for decades.

Bowdoin's family has been monitoring these developments closely.

Deana's older sister has been watching court proceedings in person this week and reportedly plans to watch Dixon's execution Wednesday.

The execution is scheduled for 10 a.m. Wednesday at the state prison in Florence.