A death row prisoner’s penalty might get delayed

PHOENIX (AP) – Prosecutors asked the Arizona Supreme Court to call off a hearing scheduled by a lower-court judge to determine the mental fitness of a prisoner to be executed in what would be the state’s first use of the death penalty in nearly eight years. They told the state’s highest court that the May 3 mental competency hearing scheduled in Pinal County for Clarence Dixon is likely to delay his May 11 execution for his murder conviction in the 1977 killing of Arizona State University student Deana Bowdoin.

The prosecutors are seeking to throw out the lower court’s order that concluded defense lawyers had shown reasonable grounds for planning a hearing over Dixon’s psychological fitness.