Atwood wants new sentencing 27 years later

Published: Oct. 8, 2013 at 12:54 AM MST|Updated: Oct. 22, 2013 at 12:55 AM MST
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TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) - It was a case that rocked Tucson.

A young girl, Vicki Lynne Hoskinson, disappeared from her Tucson neighborhood in 1984.

A man, Frank Jarvis Atwood, who already had been convicted of abducting a child, was convicted of killing 8-year-old Vicki Lynne.

Now Atwood is in federal court trying to save his own life.

Atwood, a name that can send a chill down the spines of long-time Tucsonans, is now claiming his attorney did an inadequate job representing him during his murder trial.

Atwood is in court trying to get off death row.

Also in court are the mother and other loved ones of the child he murdered.

"We're here because we need to represent Vicki," Debbie Carlson, mother of Vicki Lynne said. "We're here because it's been 29 years, and he needs to know that we haven't forgotten."

Debbie Carlson and her family have come from their home in Montana.

More family and friends are in court, too, to be sure that Atwood knows they are still waiting for justice.

They packed the courtroom.

Atwood has been on death row since 1987.

He's in federal court claiming he suffered from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, which was never brought up during the sentencing phase of his trial.

He wants a new sentencing hearing.

"So he is now, 29 years later, trying to say he has Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and he wants-- he feels he should be resentenced."

Carlson is outraged.

"No one told him to kidnap her, rape her and murder her," she said. "He did it on his own."

"The audacity of him to claim he has Post Traumatic Stress Disorder when, in fact, I have Post Traumatic Stress Disorder because of him and because of what he did to my daughter."

Carlson holds back tears, mourning for her child. And tears of anger at the man who murdered her.

"It's an excuse. He's coward. He's a coward."

"We know that executing him will not bring her back, but we also know that we won't have to put up with this kind of stuff any more because every time he files an appeal, it brings it back up," she said. "A jury of 12 of his peers found him guilty and he was sentence to death and he needs to be a man and face that."

Carlson says her big worry is that if Atwood is resentenced, he could get life in prison: 25 years.

He already has served about 27 years.

Her great fear is seeing him on the street again.

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