Arizona Executes Clarence Dixon on May 11, 2022

Clarence Dixon, Arizona

Updated: Wednesday, May 11, 2022

Clarence Dixon

On May 11, 2022, Clarence Wayne Dixon was executed in Arizona. Clarence was pronounced dead at 10:30 am local time, inside the execution chamber at the Central Unit of the Arizona State Prison Complex in Florence, Arizona. He was 66 years of age. Clarence was executed for murdering 21-year-old Deana Bowdoin on January 7, 1978, in Tempe, Arizona. He spent the last 19 years of his life on death row in Arizona.

Clarence is a member of the Navajo Nation. He was allegedly abused during his childhood.

In June 1977, Clarence Dixon was arrested on charges of assault with a deadly weapon, after he struck a teenage girl with a metal pipe. Dixon was examined by two psychiatrists, who determined he was not competent to state trial. They also diagnosed him with “undifferentiated schizophrenia.” Dixon was sent to the Arizona State Hospital for competency restoration.

Six weeks later, it was determined that Dixon was competent to stand trial. Dixon chose to waive his right to a trial by jury and he was found not guilty by reason of insanity and ordered released pending civil proceedings. He was released on January 5, 1978.

On January 6, 1987, Deana, an Arizona State University student, went out to dinner with her parents. After dinner, she met a female friend at a nearby bar, where they stayed for several hours. Deana then returned to her apartment. Around 2 am on January 7, 1987, Deana’s boyfriend returned to the apartment after an evening with his brother. He discovered Deana dead on her bed.

An investigation revealed that Deana had been raped.  While DNA evidence was collected, police could not get a DNA match. In 2001, police re-opened the cold case and ran the DNA profile against a national database. Police matched the DNA from the crime to that of Clarence Dixon.

Dixon was, at the time, in prison in Arizona, serving six life sentences. He had been convicted of assaulting, kidnapping, and raping a Northern Arizona University student in Flagstaff, Arizona. This case resulted in his DNA being entered into a national database, where he was eventually linking him to Deana’s murder. Dixon was charged with first-degree murder and rape. The rape charge was later dropped as it was outside the statute of limitations. In 2002, a jury found Dixon guilty and sentenced him to death. Dixon chose to represent himself during the trial and did not present mitigating evidence from his childhood.

Clarence Dixon is the first inmate executed in Arizona in eight years. The last execution carried out by the state was that of Joseph Wood. Wood’s execution took nearly two hours and resulted in him gasping and struggling to breathe during that time.

Clarence had the option of choosing between lethal injection and the gas chamber for his execution.  He declined to make choice, therefore, his execution was carried out by the default method of execution in Arizona, which is lethal injection.

Pray for the family of Deana Bowdoin. Pray for all affected by Clarence’s crimes. Please pray for strength for the family of Clarence.

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