Clarence Dixon's Final Words Before Execution in Arizona

Clarence Dixon chided medical staff in his final moments before he was put to death in Arizona's first use of the death penalty since 2014.

Dixon, 66, who was blind and in declining health, died by lethal injection at the state prison in Florence for the 1978 killing of 21-year-old Arizona State University student Deana Bowdoin.

He was executed at 10 a.m. local time, according to Frank Strada, a deputy director with Arizona Department of Corrections, Rehabilitation and Reentry.

"The Arizona Supreme Court should follow the laws," Strada said Dixon declared shortly before he was put to death, according to The Associated Press.

"They denied my appeals and petitions to change the outcome of this trial. I do and will always proclaim innocence. Now, let's do this sh**."

Clarence Dixon
Clarence Dixon, convicted in the 1978 killing of a university student, was the first inmate executed in Arizona in almost 14 years. Arizona Department of Corrections, Rehabilitation and Reentry via AP, File

Dixon made several comments insulting the medical team, mocking their Hippocratic oath and saying they "worshipped death," according to Troy Hayden, a media witness from Fox News.

Hayden said Dixon referenced Bowdoin directly a number of times, and said she knew he did not kill her.

As prison medical staff put an IV line in Dixon's thigh, he said: "This is really funny—trying to be as thorough as possible while you are trying to kill me."

According to Hayden and the AP, the medical team struggled to find a vein to administer the lethal drugs into Dixon's body. They took about 25 minutes to do so, first trying Dixon's arms before eventually making an incision in his groin area.

"They did have to wipe up a fair amount of blood," said Paul Davenport, a media witness from the AP.

Hayden appeared to be in pain while the team attempted to insert the IVs, Hayden said. But he appeared to lose consciousness a few minutes after he was injected.

The AP reported that Dixon's mouth stayed open, and his body did not move after the drugs were injected. The execution was declared done about 10 minutes later.

Dixon was the first inmate to be executed in the state of Arizona since the botched execution of Joseph Wood in 2014, who was reportedly gasping and struggling to breathe for much of the two hours that it took to put him to death.

His attorneys sought to halt the execution, but judges rejected their argument that he was not mentally fit to be executed and did not understand why the state wanted to end his life.

The U.S. Supreme Court rejected a last-minute delay of Dixon's execution less than an hour before the execution started.

Update 5/12/22, 2:53 a.m. ET: This article has been updated to add more information.