Frank Atwood: Death row inmate executed for murder of young girl

Death row inmate executed for murder of young girl after refusing last meal

Frank Atwood has been convicted of the murder of Vicki Lynne Hoskinson (Image: AP)

A death row inmate convicted of murdering a young girl nearly 40 years ago has been executed in Arizona.

Frank Atwood, 66, was found guilty of murdering eight-year-old Vicki Lynne Hoskinson, whose body was found in the desert northwest of Tucson nearly seven months after she disappeared in 1984.

He died shortly after 10:15 a.m. local time in the state prison in Florence by lethal injection.

Atwood had spent nearly 35 years on death row, exhausting all his appeals.

Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich said in a statement, “For an innocent child whose life was brutally taken and for a family that endured decades of suffering, Arizonans will never be forgotten.”

Atwood became the second Arizona prisoner to be executed in less than a month.

The execution of Clarence Dixon in May ended the state moratorium, which was blamed on the difficulty of obtaining lethal injectable drugs and criticism that a 2014 homicide had been botched.

Death penalty opponents now fear that Arizona will “open the floodgates” and begin executing a steady stream of prisoners who have suffered on death row.

FILE - This undated file photo provided by the Arizona Department of Corrections, Rehabilitation and Reentry shows Frank Atwood, who was convicted of murder in the 1984 killing of an 8-year-old girl. Atwood was executed on Wednesday, June 8, 2022, in the state's second execution since officials resumed using the death penalty in May after a nearly eight-year hiatus. (Arizona Department of Corrections, Rehabilitation and Reentry via AP, File)

Atwood was executed on Wednesday (Image: AP)

Vicki Lynne Hoskinson (February 2, 1976 – September 17, 1984) was an 8-year-old American girl who disappeared while riding her bicycle to send a birthday card to her aunt in Tucson, Arizona.[1] Her captor, Frank Jarvis Atwood (born January 29, 1956),[2] was pursued through testimonies and physical evidence (which the kidnapper claimed in a later appeal and which was posted on his car). Seven months later, Vicki's remains were found in a desert area 20 miles away, and Atwood was found guilty of first-degree murder. He was sentenced to death and has been on death row in Arizona since 1987. He is scheduled to be executed in 2022.

Vicki Lynne Hoskinson disappeared while riding a bike to send her aunt a birthday card (Image: Facebook)

State officials are yet to provide details when asked about future execution plans, but Mr Bronovich said: “We will continue to seek justice for every victim.”

Vicki Lynne disappeared while riding her bike home on September 17, 1984 after sending a birthday card. Seven months later, a hiker found her remains in the desert.

Experts could not determine a cause of death, but prosecutors argued he abducted the teen and killed her.

Atwood was convicted in California in 1975 of lewd and lewd behavior with a child under the age of 14, which authorities said was an aggravating factor that put him under consideration for the death penalty.

Vicki Lynne’s mother, Debbie Carlson, observed the execution and told reporters after Atwood’s death that “today is the final justice for our daughter.”

She said, “Our family has waited 37 years, eight months and 22 days for this day to come.”

Ms Carlson described her daughter as “a vivacious little girl with an infectious laugh and a smile that would melt your heart”.

She added: “Her royal blue eyes reflected an ancient soul of wisdom and her freckled nose was one of a kind and we are blessed to see her with our grandchildren today.

“Vicki was a feisty little girl who always kept you on your toes and will forever be known as Dennis the Menace, giggling the whole time.”

Pictured Vicky Lynne with her mother Debbie Carlson Vicki Lynne Hoskinson (February 2, 1976 – September 17, 1984) was an 8-year-old American girl who disappeared while riding her bicycle to deliver a birthday card to her aunt in Tucson, Arizona to send.[1] Her captor, Frank Jarvis Atwood (born January 29, 1956),[2] was pursued through testimonies and physical evidence (which the kidnapper claimed in a later appeal and which was posted on his car). Seven months later, Vicki's remains were found in a desert area 20 miles away, and Atwood was found guilty of first-degree murder. He was sentenced to death and has been on death row in Arizona since 1987. He is scheduled to be executed in 2022.

Vicky Lynne with her mother Debbie Carlson (Image: Facebook)

Vicki Lynne Hoskinson (February 2, 1976 – September 17, 1984) was an 8-year-old American girl who disappeared while riding her bicycle to send a birthday card to her aunt in Tucson, Arizona.[1] Her captor, Frank Jarvis Atwood (born January 29, 1956),[2] was pursued through testimonies and physical evidence (which the kidnapper claimed in a later appeal and which was posted on his car). Seven months later, Vicki's remains were found in a desert area 20 miles away, and Atwood was found guilty of first-degree murder. He was sentenced to death and has been on death row in Arizona since 1987. He is scheduled to be executed in 2022.

Vicki Lynne’s remains were found seven months after her disappearance (Image: Facebook)

But Joseph Perkovich, one of Atwood’s attorneys, said in a statement that his client’s execution did not resolve what he felt were unanswered questions about the case.

“The state of Arizona executed Frank Atwood despite persistent doubts about his guilt,” he said. “The case against Frank was purely circumstantial and important evidence pointed to another suspect.”

Prosecutors alleged that Atwood was attempting to indefinitely delay his execution.

They had argued that he would suffer excruciatingly if he was strapped to the stretcher on his back because he had a degenerative spinal disease.

But authorities said his pain was relieved by propping him up with a pillow on the stretcher, which has a tilting function.

He refused a last meal, said he was fasting, and wore the black skull-cap of his Greek Orthodox religion with a red cross on it, along with a black cross around his neck.

A group of supporters of stopping state executions stand with signs at the corner of East Butte Ave. and North Pinal Parkway Ave. while awaiting news of Frank Atwood outside of the Arizona State Prison Complex-Florence in Florence , Ariz. on Wednesday, June 8, 2022. Atwood, 66, died Wednesday in state prison by lethal injection for his murder conviction in the killing of Vicki Lynne Hoskinson, whose body was found in the desert. (Rebecca Sasnett/Arizona Daily Star via AP)

A group of supporters for an end to state executions (Image: AP)

Bud Foster, a KOLD-TV journalist who saw Atwood’s execution and witnessed others, said, “It was probably the most peaceful of all the executions I have witnessed.”

The medical staff who prepared him initially struggled to locate a vein in Atwood’s right arm to insert an IV, but inserted it into his right hand at Atwood’s suggestion, said Henry Brean, a reporter for the Arizona Daily Star who was another witness to the execution.

Dixon was executed on May 11 for his conviction in the 1978 murder of Deana Bowdoin, a 21-year-old Arizona State University student.

His execution was criticized by capital punishment experts because it took officers about 30 minutes to insert an IV to administer the deadly drug and 10 minutes after that to die.

They said executions should last seven to 10 minutes from the start of the IV insertion process to the moment the prisoner is pronounced dead.

The execution team first tried and failed to insert an IV into Dixon’s left arm before being able to connect it to his right arm. Then they made an incision in his groin for another line.

Dixon’s execution was the first in the state since the July 2014 execution of Joseph Wood, who was given 15 doses of a two-drug combination over nearly two hours.

Wood repeatedly huffed and gasped before dying. His lawyer said the execution was botched.

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https://metro.co.uk/2022/06/09/frank-atwood-death-row-inmate-executed-for-murdering-young-girl-16796741/ Frank Atwood: Death row inmate executed for murder of young girl

Justin Scacco

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