Clarence Wayne Dixon: A timeline of his life, alleged crimes, and mental health history, as told by the State

Alexis Young
Clarence Wayne Dixon and a court document from May 3, 2022.Courtesy of Arizona Department of Corrections and AZ Central.

By Alexis Young / NewsBreak Pinal County, AZ

(Pinal County, AZ) — Arizona has been hearing the name Clarence Wayne Dixon since the mid-eighties, but his alleged crimes predated his appearance on our radars. Here’s a timeline of Clarence Dixon’s life, crimes, and mental health history; recorded and documented by the State, constructed from the Combined Index and Exhibits to Motion to Determine Mental Competency to be Executed:

1955: Psychiatric Evaluation Reports from Dr. Otto Bendheim, M.D. and Dr. Maier Tuchler, M.D. record Dixon’s birthplace on the Fort Defiance Reservation in August. Dixon was the middle child of eight. Bendheim reported that Dixon’s parents divorced after having his eighth sibling. He also reported that Dixon was the only sibling to enjoy his father, an educator. According to Dr. Bendheim, Dixon claimed, for this reason, he was the only child of his father to pursue college. Despite this, a psychiatric analysis conducted in 2021 revealed Dixon’s father’s abuse.

The report from Dr. Lauro Amerzcua-Patiño read: “His father was belligerent and abusive. If one child did something to anger Clarence’s father, he would punish all children. He would reportedly line the children up and hit them with a belt until they cried. It should be noted that Clarence’s father suffered from migraine headaches, has been described as having “mental problems,” and was prescribed Darvon and Librium.”

1967: Dixon was treated for a heart murmur at Children’s Hospital in Phoenix, according to Dr. Tuchler and Dr. Bendheim and 2012 evaluation.

1971-72: Dixon attended Window Rock High School and Huntington Park night school in LA, according to Dr. Tuchler

1972-73: Dixon worked as a gas station attendant, according to Dr. Tuchler

1974: Dixon returned to Chinle, lived with his mother, and graduated from Chinle High School, according to Dr. Tuchler

1975: Dixon’s father dies, Dr. Bendheim cites complications after leg surgery. An evaluation from Dr. Patiño conducted on August 25, 2021 discussed Dixon’s marriage that started the same year.

“On March 18, 1975, Clarence married Geraldine Eagleman in Window Rock, Arizona. They moved in May 1976 to Tempe, Arizona, where both planned on attending college. This was, by all accounts, an unhappy marriage. Clarence stated that the girl he assaulted in 1977 bore a “superficial resemblance to his wife.” Geraldine divorced Clarence in 1979 while he was in prison.”

1976: Summer of ‘76, Dr. Tuchler documents Dixon’s enrollment at Arizona State University. Dr. Bendheim recorded Dixon’s engineering major

1977: Dixon is tried and hospitalized for the physical assault of a 15-year-old girl whom he allegedly hit in the head with a pipe. The information recorded on this timeline is partially constructed from psychiatric evaluations that took place on September 2, 1977. From Dr. In Bendheim's report, Dixon seemed severely depressed and recalled displeasure in his wife masquerading as an excellent homemaker in front of her 9-year-old brother. According to Dr. Bendheim’s notes from his interview with Dixon, in frustration, he started an altercation with three customers at work, was beaten, called a “dumb Indian,” drove around, got out of his car, and attacked a Christy Guerra with a mental pipe; a 15-year-old he wished was his wife.

A psychiatric evaluation conducted by Dr. Lauro Amezcua-Patiño, MD, FAPA, on August 25, 2021, reported: “On June 5, 1977, Clarence was arrested by the Tempe Police Department for assaulting Christy Guerra, age 15, with a metal pipe, causing a severe cut to the top of her head. Ms. Guerra stated that Clarence walked up to her stating “Nice evening, isn't it?” before striking her. Ms. Guerra screamed and Clarence retreated to his vehicle followed by Ms. Guerra. Tempe Police arrived on the scene and took Clarence into custody. He was charged with Aggravated Assault with a Deadly Weapon.”

Each interview from each doctor concluded in a schizophrenic diagnosis and recommendation for a stint in the Arizona State Hospital.

1978: Dixon was released from Arizona State Hospital on January 5, 1978. He was found not guilty by reason of insanity by The Honorable Sandra Day O’Connor for the aforementioned assault. Civil commitment proceedings were supposed to occur within the next ten days but never happened. The rape and murder of Deana Lynn Bowdoin occurred two days after. Dixon wasn’t formally linked to the crime until November 26, 2002. Documents from 2012 say he admitted to being caught for solicitation of sex workers and was fined $15.

1981: Dixon, serving a five-year sentence for burglary and assault, underwent a psychological report by G. Carl. Carl found Dixon was, “highly motivated toward career success,” “values sensual pleasure and responds strongly to sexual and romantic stimulation,” and “achieved an IQ of 106.”

1985: Dixon was arrested by Flagstaff City Police on June 10, 1985 after he allegedly sexual assaulted a Nothern Arizona University student. He was convicted in December, according to a 2005 response from then-attorney Garrett Simpson.

1986: Dixon was sentenced to seven consecutive life sentences, according to a Confidential Memorandum.

1987: The 2005 Confidential Memorandum from Garrett Simpson said, “In 1987, the Arizona Supreme Court upheld your convictions and sentences in a published opinion.”

1991: The same 2005 response to Dixon cites the Petition for Post-Conviction Relief (PCR) he filed in 1991. According to Simpson, Dixon claimed NAU was not a legally established police department using improper application of Goode v. Alfred. A student’s off-campus DUI and arrest by a campus officer raised questions of a University’s authority to hire certified officers.

“In Goode, a Tucson justice of the peace had ruled that the Arizona Board of Regents did not have the authority to create a police department for the University of Arizona. However, the justice of the peace’s ruling was overturned by the Pima County Superior Court.”

1992: Simpson’s Confidential Memorandum goes on to say,” the trial court in Flagstaff rejected your petition.”

“On December 3, 1992 it denied relief, finding on the merits that the claim that the NAU police had no jurisdiction was disposed of by Goode

1993: “In the legislature passed A.R.S. § requiring all persons committed to the DOC to give blood for DNA sampling. This provision remains good law. The Arizona Court of Appeals has held that DNA sampling is not punishment and does not violate ex post facto provisions of the Constitution” (Simpson’s 2005 Confidential Memorandum). Dixon’s Petition of Post Conviction Relief was denied on August 31, 1993, according to Deputy Public Defender Vikki M. Liles.

1994: Liles' 2005 documents said the Arizona Supreme Court denied Dixon’s petition for special action.

1995: Liles' document also cites Dixon’s second PCR petition from the same claim he unsuccessfully ligated two years prior on April 19, 1995.

“On August 4, Judge J. Michael Flournoy of the Coconino County Superior- Court denied the petition.”

1996: Arizona Court of Appeals and Arizona Supreme Court denied Dixon’s petition for review on July 11 and December 9, respectively, Liles reports.

1997: From Dixon’s 2001 article,“Can & Do The Courts Collude?”

“A notice of appeal and a motion for issuance of a certificate of probable cause was filed on September 12, 1997. The certificate was denied on September 23, 1997. In an October 1, 1997 letter, Dixon requested appointment of counsel, which was never ruled upon by the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. On October 27, 1997, a request for issuance of certificate of appealability was denied. Another letter construed as a motion to reconsider was denied on November 28, 1997.”

1998: February 23, Dixon submitted a pro se Petition for a Writ of Certiorari. It was denied by US Supreme Court Justice William K. Shutter on May 18, according to Dixon’s 2001 article.

2000: On August 7, Attorney Larry Hammond responded to Dixon’s July 16 letter to the Arizona Attorneys for Criminal Justice.

“We look for cases of manifest injustice. Our first goal is to find those people who are innocent of the crimes for which they have been charged and to assist them in obtaining relief. Your case does not meet the standards of The Justice Project.”

2001: October 1, from Liles’ 2005 response, Dixon filed his third PCR petition since he felt that the last two “were denied because the judges were biased and intentionally violated his right.”

The same year, Dixon wrote an eight-page article called “Can & Do the Courts Collude?” Dixon opens the article by defining conspiracy and collusion.

The last sentence read: “This cumulative, continuous and effort by state and federal judges on its face smacks of collusion and conspiracy or, at the least, complicity, and the reader is left considering the circumstantial weight to tell if judicial collusion is found.”

2002: February 2, Judge Flournoy denied the petition, according to Liles. On March 12, Dixon filed a complaint against Judge Flournoy.

The last sentence of the complaint read: “This is my third Crim. Rule 32 petition, and because the superior court judges and appellate state courts will not order a fair and impartial hearing on my due process claim, I seek suspension or censure of Judge J. Michael Flournoy”

November 26, Dixon was formally and legally accused of the first-degree felony murder and rape of 21-year-old Deana Lynn Bowdoin as he was serving seven consecutive life sentences after being convicted of raping an NAU coed. Dixon’s DNA was collected in 1995 after the 1993 legislature that allowed inmates' DNA to be recorded in CODIS.

2003: Liles’ 2005 said, “On February 4, 2003, the Arizona Court of Appeals denied review.”

2005: Dixon received a Confidential Memorandum from Deputy Public Defender Garrett Simpson, a response to Dixon’s pro se Motion to Suppress DNA Evidence collected after his ten years after his 1985 incarceration.

At some point during the early 2000s, Dixon fired his attorneys and represents himself since they want to move forward with his NAU legal challenge.

2012: Dixon spent 14 hours being evaluated in a semi-private room in the Arizona Department of Corrections facility’s Browning Unit. He was assessed by Dr. John J. Toma, Ph.D. Dixon underwent intelligence, language, sensorimotor, memory executive functioning, auditory perception/attention tests, personality tests, and tests of effort/malingering. The evaluation goes into greater detail about his extremely distant, depressive, hopeless modes, beatings his father delivered that separated his sister from his family, emotionally painful and meaningless first sexual experiences, and night walks that escalated into petty theft and breaking and entering.

2021: Mental status examination report conducted on August 25 by Dr. Patiño includes several direct quotes from Dixon.

“‘I want them to recognize the Law. They are not disagreeing with me; they just want to kill me for murder. They are ignoring the law.’ Dixon said that the pair discussed his NAU legal challenge.

Clarence reported that when he feels the guards are nudging him, he tries to go to sleep and follow ‘Andy.’ He believes that Andy is his deep self, and when he wakes up, he says, ‘I am not going to be weak and slow.’

Clarence admitted to hearing voices speaking to him inside his head. He stated, ‘There is something inside of me that is loose. I am loco, I am broken.””

2022: In an interview discussing the same topic, on March 10, Dixon said: “Now, I say I tell him, okay, the crime occurred, a mile and a half off-campus. They don't have the powers to investigate.”

In an interview conducted on February 12, Dixon recounts his first encounters with the voices.

“The first time I heard the voice, I was in third grade on the playground, and I heard someone say ‘Clarence,’ looked around, and nobody was close to me. It was not that frequent—every 2 to 3 months. It didn’t tell me to do anything bad, just saying my name.”

Though Dixon spent 30-plus years writing and fighting against his NAU legal challenge, he summed up the legitimate kink of the judiciary chainmail succinctly.

“ [Dr. Patiño] asked about his recollection of being found Not Guilty by Reason of Insanity. He stated, ‘I was found incompetent in court in the past, I was ordered to the Arizona State Hospital, and someone dropped the ball.’”

If that ball had not been dropped would Clarence Wayne Dixon have gotten the appropriate treatment? Would Deana Lynn Bowdoin be alive today? Would Dixon’s death still be scheduled for May 11, 2022?

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I found an unexpected comfort and interest in journalism. From storytelling to holding the powerful accountable to the more technical parts of the job, most all of it interests me. I’m using that interest to ignite lights that will illuminate truth.

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