Arizona Readies Gas Chamber for First Execution Since 2014

UPDATE August 8, 2022 | On May 11, 2022, the state of Arizona resumed executions for the first time since 2014. The state, which made headlines after refurbishing its execution gas chamber in 2020, put Clarence Dixon to death on May 11 and Frank Atwood on June 8. Both men were executed via lethal injection, although Mr. Dixon’s execution was problematic as the team struggled to access a vein, resulting in the performance of a cutdown procedure. As of now, no more Arizona executions are currently scheduled. 

UPDATE April 21, 2022 | After declining to choose between the gas chamber or lethal injection, Clarence Dixon is set to be executed by Arizona’s default method of lethal injection on May 11, 2022.

April 14, 2022 | Next month, Arizona intends to resume executions for the first time since 2014. The state has scheduled the execution of Clarence Dixon for May 11, 2022. 

Mr. Dixon was sentenced to death for the 1977 killing of Deana Bowdoin, an Arizona State University student.

When Arizona last used the death penalty, they injected Joseph Wood 15 times with lethal drugs. He suffered for more than  two hours before he was pronounced dead. 

Recently, Arizona added the gas chamber as an approved  method of execution. The state  is one of only a few to still have a gas chamber, which was refurbished in 2020, and the last to have used it. 

Individuals on Arizona’s death row have 20 days from the time their death warrant is issued to decide which method of execution they prefer: the gas chamber or a lethal injection.

This unthinkable choice now rests on Mr. Dixon, a man who may not even understand why he is being executed. His defense team recently filed a motion citing evidence of incompetency. 

If Mr. Dixon does not make a choice, the state will default to using lethal injection. 

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