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Anti-death penalty groups plan ways to stop execution scheduled for May 11

Anti-death penalty groups say they will launch pressure campaigns on Arizona’s governor and attorney general to stop the execution of Clarence Dixon scheduled for May 11.

One strategy is to appeal to Gov. Doug Ducey's morality as a Roman Catholic.

In 2018, Pope Francis made church teaching to oppose the death penalty.

“Dead Man Walking” author Sister Helen Prejean wants local church leadership involved with the effort.     

“We really want to work with the bishops to get Catholics to just barrage the governor with calls and notes,” she said Wednesday at during a webinar held by Death Penalty Alternatives for Arizona.  

Dixon faces lethal injection for killing an ASU student in 1978.

He would be the first prisoner executed in Arizona since the botched killing of Joseph Wood nearly a decade ago.  

On Thursday, the state Board of Executive Clemency denied an appeal from Dixon, who is set to die by lethal injection.

Prejean said the U.S. Supreme Court has let states experiment with the drugs used to carry out the death penalty.

“What’s wrong about this is there is no humane way to kill a conscious imaginative human being. The death penalty is the practice of torture,” she said.

Matthew Casey has won Edward R. Murrow awards for hard news and sports reporting since he joined KJZZ as a senior field correspondent in 2015.