Arizona AG Brnovich asks state Supreme Court to move forward with 2 executions

Jan 6, 2022, 4:05 AM

Frank Atwood and Clarence Dixon (Booking Photos)...

Frank Atwood and Clarence Dixon (Booking Photos)

(Booking Photos)

PHOENIX — Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich is asking the state Supreme Court to move forward with the execution of two prisoners after the process was halted over the summer.

Brnovich wants the state Supreme Court to set briefing schedules to allow his office to file warrants of execution for death row inmates Frank Atwood and Clarence Dixon.

Dixon was convicted and sentenced to death for the 1978 killing of Deana Bowdoin, a 21-year-old Arizona State University student, while Atwood was found guilty and sentenced to death for the killing of 8-year-old Vicki Lynne Hoskinson in 1984.

Both men have exhausted all of their appeals.

“Justice has been a long time coming in some of the most heinous crimes committed in our state,” Brnovich said in a press release.

“It is our solemn duty to fulfill these court-ordered sentences on behalf of the victims, their loved ones, and our communities.”

The Arizona Supreme Court in July 2021 threw out a schedule that would have led to the execution of both men in the fall, with prosecutors having to do more testing of the state’s lethal injection drug before seeking the warrants.

Prosecutors asked the state’s high court in June to modify the schedules after it was revealed the shelf life of Arizona’s lethal injection drug was half as long as they previously thought.

Dixon’s lawyer, Cary Sandman, also contended the state’s new scheduling proposal would have given her only four days to respond to the execution warrant request instead of 10 days.

Since the July ruling, the state said it has done specialized testing on the pentobarbital to be compounded for the executions and determined its shelf life to be at least 90 days.

Brnovich said the state’s high court establishing firm briefing schedules before the execution warrants are filed would ensure compliance with testing and disclosure obligations, as well as the current injection protocol and a related settlement.

Should the state Supreme Court agree to Brnovich’s schedule, it would set in motion the state’s first execution since 2014 of convicted murderer Joseph Wood.

The Attorney General’s Office would then file execution warrants for Atwood and Dixon 30 days before the Court’s conference date, with the two men getting 10 days to respond.

If the notions are granted, the state would carry out the execution 35 days from the date the execution warrants were issued.

Since both crimes occurred before November 1992, the two men could select either lethal injection or gas.

There are 112 Arizona inmates are on death row, and 20 of those have exhausted all appeals, Brnovich said.

Many of the crimes of those on death row go back decades.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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Arizona AG Brnovich asks state Supreme Court to move forward with 2 executions