Lawyers file motion to halt first execution in Arizona in nearly 8 years

PHOENIX — Lawyers for death row inmate Clarence Dixon have filed a motion to restrain the state from executing him as scheduled on May 11.

Dixon would be the first death row inmate executed by the state of Arizona since 2014 if the petition fails.

“Arizona’s standard for judging an individual’s fitness for execution conflicts with the federal constitutional standard,” Dixon’s attorneys said in the motion.

He was convicted of the murder of 21-year-old student Deana Bowdoin in 1977, two days after he was released without supervision on an unrelated assault charge after being found not guilty by reason of insanity.

His attorneys state in the motion that Dixon lacks the ability to understand the reason for his scheduled execution due to schizophrenia, which deceives his thinking.

“His conception of reality is so altered that he cannot form a rational understanding of the ‘punitive message that society intends to convey with a death sentence,'” the attorneys said in the motion.

The memo sent announcing the motion says he was found incompetent by two court-appointed psychiatrists.

Arizona has 112 prisoners on death row.

The last time Arizona used the death penalty was on a prisoner who received 15 doses of a combination of two drugs over two hours in an execution that his lawyers said was botched.

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