Arizona plans to seek warrants for first death row executions in 7 years

Prosecutors told the Arizona Supreme Court on Wednesday that they intend to seek execution warrants soon for two death-row inmates in what would be the state’s first executions in seven years.

Nine months ago, the Attorney General Mark Brnovich’s office made a similar request of the high court to set a briefing schedule before filing execution warrants for both condemned men, Clarence Dixon and Frank Atwood.

But the schedules were thrown out after prosecutors revealed the shelf life of Arizona’s lethal injection drug was 45 days, which was half as long as they previously thought.

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

"It is our solemn duty to fulfill these court-ordered sentences on behalf of the victims, their loved ones, and our communities," Brnovich said in a statement.

Dale Baich, one of Dixon’s lawyers, said he was eager to see the results of the state’s tests.

Dixon and Atwood are the first death row prisoners in Arizona to be eyed for execution since the 2014 death of Joseph Wood, who was given 15 doses of a two-drug combination over two hours.

Joseph Perkovich, an attorney for Atwood, said Brnovich’s office has "provided no evidence that the state of Arizona can be relied on to carry out an execution without repeating the abomination that resulted in its last killing, in 2014."

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. Last year, Arizona corrections officials revealed that they had finally obtained a lethal injection drug and were ready to resume executions.

Dixon was convicted and sentenced to death for the 1977 killing of Deana Bowdoin, a 21-year-old Arizona State University student.

Atwood was convicted and sentenced to death for killing 8-year-old Vicki Lynn Hoskinson in 1984. Authorities say Atwood kidnapped the girl, whose body was found in the desert northwest of Tucson.

Arizona has 112 prisoners on death row.

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