PHOENIX – A choose has dominated that an Arizona prisoner convicted within the 1978 killing of a college pupil is mentally match to be put to dying subsequent week, retaining on monitor what could be the primary execution within the state in almost eight years.
In a ruling signed shortly earlier than midnight Tuesday and launched on Wednesday, Pinal County Superior Courtroom Decide Robert Olson rejected an argument from protection attorneys that Clarence Dixon’s psychological issues forestall him from rationally understanding why the state desires to finish his life.
Dixon was convicted of homicide within the killing of 21-year-old Arizona State College pupil Deana Bowdoin.
Legal professionals for Dixon stated they’ll enchantment the ruling to the Arizona Supreme Courtroom.
Dixon’s attorneys argued Tuesday in a court docket in Florence, Arizona, that executing him would violate protections in opposition to executing people who find themselves mentally unfit.
They stated he erroneously believes he can be executed as a result of police at Northern Arizona College wrongfully arrested him in a earlier case — a 1985 assault on a 21-year-old pupil. His attorneys concede he was in actual fact lawfully arrested on the time by Flagstaff police.
Dixon was sentenced to life sentences in that case for sexual assault and different convictions. DNA samples taken whereas he was in jail later linked him to Bowdoin’s killing, which at that time had been unsolved.
Prosecutors, who tried unsuccessfully to get the Arizona Supreme Courtroom to name off the psychological competency listening to, stated there was nothing about Dixon’s beliefs that prevented him from understanding the explanation for the execution and pointed to court docket filings that Dixon himself made over time.
Protection attorneys stated Dixon has been recognized with paranoid schizophrenia on a number of events, has repeatedly skilled hallucinations over the previous 30 years and was discovered “not responsible by cause of madness” in a 1977 assault case by which the decision was delivered by then-Maricopa County Superior Courtroom Decide Sandra Day O’Connor, almost 4 years earlier than her appointment to the U.S. Supreme Courtroom. Bowdoin was killed two days after the decision, based on court docket information.
Authorities have stated Bowdoin, who was discovered useless in her residence, had been raped, stabbed and strangled. Dixon had been charged with raping Bowdoin, however the cost was later dropped on statute-of-limitation grounds. He was convicted, although, in her dying.
Along with contesting his psychological health, Dixon’s attorneys made a brand new try on Tuesday to cease his execution.
They filed a lawsuit asking a federal choose to carry off on placing Dixon to dying till corrections officers present that the compounded pentobarbital for use within the execution has been given an expiration date.
A couple of yr in the past, prosecutors took steps to hunt the executions of Dixon and one other death-row prisoner, however the litigation was placed on maintain by the state Supreme Courtroom due to issues over the expiration date of the drug for use within the deadly injections.
Within the new lawsuit, Dixon’s attorneys stated corrections officers gave them closely redacted information documenting the testing of the drug, however that they didn’t present the assigned expiration date.
The Arizona Division of Corrections, Rehabilitation and Reentry declined to touch upon the lawsuit.
On Tuesday, the Arizona Supreme Courtroom additionally issued a warrant setting a June 8 execution date for an additional death-row prisoner, Frank Atwood, within the killing of 8-year-old Vicki Lynn Hoskinson in 1984. Authorities say Atwood kidnapped the lady, whose physique was discovered within the desert northwest of Tucson.
The final time Arizona used the dying penalty was in July 2014, when Joseph Wooden was given 15 doses of a two-drug mixture over two hours in an execution that his attorneys stated was botched.
States together with Arizona have struggled to purchase execution medication lately after U.S. and European pharmaceutical firms started blocking the usage of their merchandise in deadly injections.
Arizona has 113 prisoners on dying row.
Related Press author Paul Davenport in Phoenix contributed to this report.
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