(CNN) – Convicted Arizona murderer Clarence Dixon was executed by lethal injection Wednesday morning despite several attempts by his attorneys to delay his death, the state Department of Corrections confirmed.
Dixon, 66, is the first person to be executed in Arizona since Joseph Wood was executed in 2014 by a botched lethal injection that left the prisoner gasping for air and defecating for most of the two hours it took him to die struggled to breathe. said his lawyer at the time.
Dixon was convicted of sexual assault and murder in the 1978 death of Arizona State University student Deana Bowdoin. The case remained cold until 2008, when DNA technology linked Dixon to the murder. As early as 1986, he was serving a life sentence for another sexual assault.
Bowdoin’s sister Leslie James was present at the execution.
“He made decisions,” she said, “and that’s why I won’t even waste breath or words on him anymore.”
Dixon’s attorneys made several efforts to delay the execution, citing mental illness and other disabilities, including blindness. On April 28, the Arizona Board of Executive Clemency unanimously denied its attorneys’ request for commutation or a stay of Dixon’s sentence, CNN affiliate KNXV reported.
The U.S. District Court for the District of Arizona also denied a motion to stay his execution on Tuesday, and the U.S. Supreme Court on Wednesday denied attorneys’ motion to stay the execution.
In recent years, some states have struggled to find the drugs to make lethal injections as pharmaceutical companies increasingly refuse to sell them to states for execution, essentially putting executions on hold in a handful of states.
The pandemic also delayed executions in many states, although annual execution numbers have generally been declining since the early 2000s, according to an analysis by the Death Penalty Information Center.
The CNN Wire
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