Federal appeals court refuses to stop execution of Frank Atwood

Atwood to be executed at 10 a.m. Wednesday for killing 8-year-old Vicki Lynne Hoskinson in 1984
Frank Atwood, convicted of killing Vicki Lynne Hoskinson in Tucson in 1984, is scheduled to be...
Frank Atwood, convicted of killing Vicki Lynne Hoskinson in Tucson in 1984, is scheduled to be executed at 10 a.m. Wednesday, June 8.(Arizona Department of Corrections)
Published: Jun. 7, 2022 at 4:24 PM MST
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TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - A federal appeals court on Tuesday denied a stay of execution for Frank Atwood, the man convicted of killing a Tucson child in 1984.

Atwood’s lawyers have also filed motions with the Arizona Supreme Court and U.S. Supreme Court. As of 4 p.m. Tuesday, no decision has come from either courtroom.

“Capital punishment is the appropriate response to those who commit the most shocking and vile murders, because it ensures the last word still belongs to the innocent victims who can no longer speak for themselves,” Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich was quoted as saying in a news release.

In the appeal to the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, Atwood’s team claimed that the state’s execution process would inflict unnecessary pain. They argued that lying flat on the execution table would cause Atwood excruciating pain due to a spinal condition he developed while in prison. The appeals court agreed with a federal judge in Phoenix, who noted that the table can be raised to an inclined position

In the U.S. Supreme Court filing, Atwood’s attorneys claim his crime does not merit the death penalty under the 8th Amendment, due to a lack of aggravating factors. The filing was set to be reviewed by Associate Justice Elena Kagan.

With the Arizona Supreme Court, Atwood’s attorneys are pursuing claims someone else killed the girl.

Atwood is scheduled to be executed by lethal injection at 10 a.m. Wednesday for the death of Vicki Lynne Hoskinson.

Vicki Lynne Hoskinson (Source: Wikimedia Commons)
Vicki Lynne Hoskinson (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

The 8-year-old Hoskinson was riding her bike home after mailing a birthday card to her aunt when Atwood kidnapped and killed her before dumping her body in a desert area off Ina Road.

Atwood fled to Texas, but was arrested days later on a kidnapping charge. Hoskinson’s body was found by a hiker in April 1985 and Atwood was charged with murder.

Investigators were able to secure a conviction in the case by matching the pink paint from Hoskinson’s bike to Atwood’s vehicle. They also found nickel plating from Atwood’s car on the bike.

Before Hoskinson’s death, Atwood was convicted of kidnapping and lewd and lascivious acts in California. Both victims were children. In May 1984, he was paroled and moved to Tucson, which was a violation of his parole.

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

“I am very proud of the hard work that our legal team has put in to make sure that justice is done in this case from our trial prosecutors to our appellate division to make sure that this execution is carried out and justice is served,” Brnovich was quoted as saying.

On May 11, Clarence Dixon was executed for raping and stabbing 21-year-old Arizona State student Deana Bowdoin in 1978.

Before Dixon, Arizona had not carried out an execution in almost a decade.

A big reason for that gap was the botched execution of Joseph Wood in 2004. It took Wood nearly two hours to be pronounced dead after being injected with a lethal dose of drugs.

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