Arizona prisoner to be put to death by lethal injection or gas chamber

Clarence Dixon, who was convicted 20 years ago of the long-time cold case murder of an ASU...
Clarence Dixon, who was convicted 20 years ago of the long-time cold case murder of an ASU student, is set to be put to death on May 10.(Arizona Department of Corrections, Rehabilitation and Reentry)
Published: Apr. 19, 2022 at 3:50 PM MST
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PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5/AP) -- Arizona remains on track to use the death penalty for the first time in nearly eight years. The condemned prisoner is being given the option of being put to death by the gas chamber. Clarence Dixon’s warrant for execution sets a Thursday deadline for deciding whether he will be put to death with an injection of pentobarbital or with hydrogen cyanide gas. Lethal injection is the default method if Dixon doesn’t make a choice.

Dixon was convicted of a long-time cold case murder in 2002. In 1978, 21-year-old ASU student Deana Bowdoin was raped, strangled and stabbed to death in her Tempe apartment. The case went cold until 20 years later when detectives used DNA profiling to identify Dixon, who was already in prison serving a life sentence for a 1986 sexual assault conviction. A jury found Dixon guilty, and he was sentenced to death and has remained on death row for 20 years. Dixon is set to be put to death on May 11.

The last gas chamber execution in the nation was in Arizona in 1999. However, the state had previously refurbished the gas chamber at the Florence prison two years ago. This will be the first execution in Arizona since 2014 when Joseph Rudolph Wood III was executed by lethal injection at Florence State Prison. Woods lawyers referred to his execution as “botched” because he seemed to convulse and gasp for air in the last 25 minutes.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.