Arizona Executes Frank Atwood 35 Years After Conviction for Kidnap and Murder of 8-Year-Old Vicki Lynne Hoskinson

Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich (R) today announced the execution by lethal injection of death row inmate Frank Atwood.

“The execution took place at 10:16 a.m. at the Arizona State Prison Complex in Florence. Atwood was sentenced to death nearly 35 years ago and exhausted all appellate remedies after lengthy and numerous post-conviction proceedings,” Brnovich said in a statement.

Brnovich shared words expressing his condolences to the family of Vicki Lynne Hoskinson, the 8 year old Tucson-area girl Atwood kidnapped and murdered in 1984.

“To an innocent child whose life was brutally taken and a family that has had to endure decades of suffering, Arizonans will never forget,” Brnovich said. “Today, we remember Vicki Lynne and stand together with her loved ones and the Tucson community as their unwavering quest for justice is finally realized.”

Atwood was convicted in California of “lewd and lascivious acts of kidnapping” against two young children. In May of 1984, he was paroled, but then violated that parole by moving to Tucson in September, the attorney general’s office said.

On September 17, 1984, Atwood kidnapped and killed 8-year-old Vicki Lynne Hoskinson, who was riding her bike home after mailing a birthday card to her aunt. A hiker found Hoskinson’s remains in the Tucson desert in April of 1985. Atwood fled to Texas after the murder, but he was later arrested.

A press conference held after the execution, recorded by ABC15, shared Atwood’s last words.

“Thank you, precious Father, for coming today and shepherding me into the faith. I want to thank my beautiful wife, who has loved me with everything she has. I want to thank my friends and legal team and most of all Jesus Christ through this unfair judicial process that led to my salvation. I pray the Lord will have mercy on all of us and that the Lord will have mercy on me,” Atwood said in his final words.

Atwood attempted to postpone his execution by mounting a challenge that claimed the execution method violated his constitutional rights.

However, according to a separate press release from the attorney’s office on Tuesday, the district court rejected all of Atwood’s challenges after affording him a full evidentiary hearing last week.

“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,” Brnovich said. “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.”

Debbie Carlson, the mother of the victim, spoke briefly and said “today marks final justice for our daughter, Vicki Lynne.”

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

Atwood is not the only inmate to receive a lethal injection this year. Officials executed Clarence Dixon in May for the 1978 rape and murder of 21-year-old Deana Bowdoin, an ASU student, in her Tempe apartment.

As Fox 10 reported, before Dixon, it had been eight years since the death penalty had been used in Arizona.

According to the Arizona Department of Corrections Rehabilitation & Reentry, there are currently 112 inmates on death row.

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Neil Jones is a reporter for The Arizona Sun Times and The Star News Network. Follow Neil on Twitter. Email tips to [email protected].


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