Clarence Dixon Arizona Death Row

clarence dixon arizona death row

Clarence Dixon was sentenced to death by the State of Arizona for the murder of a woman in 1978. According to court documents Clarence Dixon would force his way into the victim’s (Deana Bowdoin) apartment where she was sexually assaulted and stabbed to death. The crime would go unsolved for nearly thirty years until a DNA match put Clarence Dixon at the scene. At the time of his arrest Clarence Dixon was serving a life sentence for sexual assault. Clarence Dixon would be convicted and sentenced to death

Arizona Death Row Inmate List

Clarence Dixon 2021 Information

ASPC Florence, Central Unit
PO Box 8200
Florence, AZ 85132
United States

Clarence Dixon More News

On January 7, 1978, 21-year-old Arizona State University student Deana Bowdoin was found raped, strangled, and stabbed to death at her Tempe apartment. The killer was never found and the murder became a cold-case for many years. Tempe Detective Tom Magazzeni opened up this case about 20 years later and with the technological advancement of DNA profiling, was able to identify a suspect. Clarence Wayne Dixon was serving a life sentence in an Arizona prison for a 1986 sexual assault conviction. Dixon’s DNA was identified and connected him to the crime scene and he was indicted for the murder in 2002. A jury found Dixon guilty nearly 30 years after he committed the murder and sentenced him to death

Clarence Dixon Other News

On January 7, 1978, 21-year-old Arizona State University student Deana Bowdoin had dinner with her parents, and later met with friends at the Monastery Bar near 48th Street and Indian school Road. 

Friends watched her drive away not knowing it would be the last time they would see her.

Meanwhile, her boyfriend and his brother went to see her at her Tempe apartment, but when they saw she wasn’t there, her boyfriend took his brother home before returning to the apartment.

When he returned, he saw her car in the parking lot, unlocked the door and entered. There he found her in bed with a macramé belt around her neck and blood on her chest. He cut off the belt, attempted CPR and called the police, but it was too late.

Police found three stab wounds to her chest and male DNA on her underwear. However, police were unable to find any DNA match to anyone, inlcuding her boyfriend and his brother

The case laid dormant for 23 years, but in May 2001 Tempe Police Department Detective Tom Magazzeni picked up the case and was able to match the DNA evidence to Clarence Wayne Dixon, a man serving a life sentence in prison for a 1986 sexual assault. Dixon had lived across the street from Deana Bowdoin at the time of the murder.

Dixon was released on parole in March 1985, and it didn’t take him long after that to return to a life of crime; on April 2, he grabbed a woman in the parking lot at Northern Arizona University, holding a knife to her throat.

On June 10, he struck again grabbing a female jogger on the road near NAU. While holding her at knife point, he walked her to the woods where he tied her hands and sexually assaulted the woman. Before returning the woman’s clothes and shoes, Dixon expressed remorse, gave the knife to the woman and asked her to cut him.

She refused, but he still gave her back her clothing and shoes before he left.

Dixon was arrested, convicted and sentenced to seven consecutive life terms. 

On November 13, 2007, 30 years after the crime occurred, Dixon stood trial for the sexual assault and murder of Deana Bowdoin. After being convicted on January 15, it took the jurors just 20 minutes to sentence him to death, nine days later.

Clarence Dixon Execution

An Arizona man convicted of killing a college student in 1978 was put to death Wednesday after a nearly eight-year hiatus in the state’s use of the death penalty brought on by an execution that critics say was botched — and the difficulty state officials faced in finding lethal injection drugs.

Clarence Dixon, 66, died by lethal injection at the state prison in Florence for his murder conviction in the killing of 21-year-old Arizona State University student Deana Bowdoin, making him the sixth person to be executed in the U.S. in 2022. Dixon’s death was announced late Wednesday morning by Frank Strada, a deputy director with Arizona Department of Corrections, Rehabilitation and Reentry.

Dixon’s death appeared to go smoothly, said Troy Hayden, an anchor for the Fox10 TV news program who witnessed the execution.

“Once the drugs started flowing, he went to sleep almost immediately,” Hayden said.

In the final weeks of his life, Dixon’s lawyers made last-minute arguments to the courts to postpone his execution, but judges rejected his argument that he isn’t mentally fit to be executed and didn’t have a rational understanding of why the state wanted to execute him. The U.S. Supreme Court rejected a last-minute delay of Dixon’s execution less than an hour before his execution began.

Dixon had declined the option of being killed in the gas chamber — a method that hasn’t been used in the U.S. in more than two decades — after Arizona refurbished its gas chamber in late 2020. Instead, he was executed with an injection of pentobarbital.

Strada said Dixon’s last statement was: “The Arizona Supreme Court should follow the laws. They denied my appeals and petitions to change the outcome of this trial. I do and will always proclaim innocence. Now, let’s do this (expletive).”

The last time Arizona executed a prisoner was in July 2014, when Joseph Wood was given 15 doses of a two-drug combination over two hours in an execution that his lawyers said was botched. Wood snorted repeatedly and gasped more than 600 times before he died.

States including Arizona have struggled to buy execution drugs in recent years after U.S. and European pharmaceutical companies began blocking the use of their products in lethal injections.

Authorities have said Bowdoin, who was found dead in her apartment in the Phoenix suburb of Tempe, had been raped, stabbed and strangled with a belt.

Dixon, who was an ASU student at the time and lived across the street from Bowdoin, had been charged with raping Bowdoin, but the rape charge was later dropped on statute-of-limitation grounds. He was convicted of murder in her killing.

In arguing that Dixon was mentally unfit, his lawyers said he erroneously believed he would be executed because police at Northern Arizona University wrongfully arrested him in another case — a 1985 attack on a 21-year-old student. His attorneys conceded he was lawfully arrested by Flagstaff police.

Dixon was sentenced to life in prison in that case for sexual assault and other convictions. DNA samples taken while he was in prison later linked him to Bowdoin’s killing, which had been unsolved.

Prosecutors said there was nothing about Dixon’s beliefs that prevented him from understanding the reason for the execution and pointed to court filings that Dixon himself made over the years.

Defense lawyers said Dixon was repeatedly diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia, regularly experienced hallucinations over the past 30 years and was found “not guilty by reason of insanity” in a 1977 assault case in which the verdict was delivered by then-Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Sandra Day O’Connor, nearly four years before her appointment to the U.S. Supreme Court. Bowdoin was killed two days after that verdict, according to court records.

Another Arizona death-row prisoner, Frank Atwood, is scheduled to be executed on June 8 in the killing of 8-year-old Vicki Lynne Hoskinson in 1984. Authorities have said Atwood kidnapped the girl.

The child’s remains was discovered in the desert northwest of Tucson nearly seven months after her disappearance. Experts could not determine the cause of death from the bones that were found, according to court records.

Arizona has 112 prisoners on death row

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