The US state of Arizona has carried out a death sentence for the first time since 2014. Clarence Dixon, 66, died Wednesday from lethal injection, authorities said. Among other things, he was convicted of the rape and murder of a 21-year-old student in 1978.

Dixon’s lawyers have appealed several times, arguing that their client suffers from paranoid schizophrenia: he doesn’t understand why he faces the death penalty.

In 1978, Dixon had stabbed, raped, and strangled 21-year-old Deana Bowdoin. A few days earlier, a court had declared him innocent of another attack because of his mental state. He received a life sentence in 1986 for another sexual assault. DNA samples later linked him to the Bowdoin murder.

In Arizona, no death sentences had been carried out for eight years, after a convict died in 2014 after two hours of violent convulsions and 15 doses of poison. In addition to lethal injection, the state also allows executions by gas chamber. Dixon would have had a choice between these two methods. He said nothing and was therefore given the lethal injection.


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