Florence, Ariz. ( Associated Press) — An Arizona man convicted of manslaughter in 1984 for killing an 8-year-old girl was sentenced to death in the state’s second execution on Wednesday, since officials in May The death penalty was reintroduced. Year interval.
Frank Atwood, 66, died of lethal injection at the state prison in Florence for his murder sentence in the murder of Vicki Lynn Hoskinson, Arizona Attorney General Mark Branovich, whose body was found in the desert, said in a statement.
Vicki Lynn went missing months ago after leaving her home in Tucson, leaving a birthday card in a nearby mailbox.
The US Supreme Court on Wednesday morning cleared the way for the death penalty after rejecting the final appeal of Atwood’s lawyers. He died at 10:16 a.m., Branovich said, and witnesses reported that the execution went smoothly.
Atwood was the second Arizona prisoner to be sentenced to death in less than a month. The execution of Clarence Dixon in May stalled the execution of Arizona, who was convicted on difficulty in obtaining lethal injection drugs and criticism that the state thwarted a 2014 execution.
Opponents of the death penalty now worry that Arizona will now begin to execute a steady stream of prisoners who are on the death row, but state officials declined details when asked about the state’s future execution plans. not given.
“We will continue to demand justice for every victim,” Branovich said in another statement. He is among Arizona Republicans to campaign in a crowded field for the August 2 US Senate GOP primary election.
Arizona now has 111 prisoners on death row and Branovich’s office said 22 of them have exhausted all of their appeals.
Dan Petzmeyer, the Arizona death penalty abolition coordinator for Amnesty International USA, expressed concern that the executions of Atwood and Dixon had “opened the floodgates.” At a press conference after the death, eyewitnesses to the execution said that Atwood was accompanied by a Greek Orthodox priest preparing for a lethal injection. He claimed innocence, but did not address the murder in his last words.
Witnesses said Atwood thanked the priest “for coming today and placing me in the faith” and added: “I pray that God has mercy on all of us and God has mercy on me.”
Cold-TV journalist Bud Foster, who witnessed Atwood’s execution and has witnessed other executions, said the process of installing IVs in Atwood for lethal injection went smoothly and “it was probably the most peaceful of any executions. what I had seen in the past.”
Another reporter for the Arizona Daily Star, Harry Braine, said that medical personnel preparing Atwood for execution did not initially find a vein in Atwood’s right hand to insert an IV, but at Atwood’s suggestion it was placed in his right hand. Put.
The girl’s mother, Debbie Carlson, witnessed the execution and told reporters after Atwood’s death that “today is the final justice for our daughter Vicki Lynn. Our family waited 37 years, eight months and 22 days for this day to come.” has done.”
She added that her daughter was “a lively little girl with an infectious laugh and a smile that will melt your heart.”
Carlson said: “Her royal blue eyes reflect an old spirit of wisdom, and her freckled nose was unique and we are blessed to see it in our grandchildren today. Vicki was a spirited little one who always kept you on your toes. and was forever known as Dennis the Menace, who laughed all the way.”
In recent weeks, judges had rejected attempts by Atwood’s lawyers to delay the execution.
In the final weeks of Atwood’s life, his lawyers tried unsuccessfully to offer new arguments in an attempt to overturn his death sentence, saying they discovered an FBI memo describing an anonymous caller, claiming It has been said that the girl is not seen in a vehicle belonging to Atwood, but which may be attached to a woman.
Joseph Perkovic, one of Atwood’s lawyers, said in a statement that his client’s execution does not resolve unanswered questions about the case.
“Arizona State executed Frank Atwood despite doubts about his crime,” Perkovic said. “The case against Frank was purely circumstantial and significant evidence pointed to another suspect.”
Atwood’s lawyers told the Supreme Court in court filings that the crippling factor that made his crime eligible for the death penalty was illegally enforced. He was convicted in 1975 of indecent and sexist conduct with a child under the age of 14 in California and in 1987 for the murder of Vicki Lynn. Judges have rejected that legal argument in the past.
He also said that Atwood would go through excruciating pain tied to a gurney while lying on his back because of a degenerative condition in his spine.
Prosecutors claimed that Atwood was trying to postpone his execution indefinitely through legal maneuvers, saying his pain would be alleviated by placing him with a pillow on the gurney, which has a tingling function.
Breen said Atwood did not complain of back pain during the process of preparing for the lethal injection.
Authorities have said Atwood kidnapped Vicki Lynn, whose remains were discovered in the desert northwest of Tucson, nearly seven months after her disappearance. According to court records, experts could not determine a cause of death from the remains.
Dixon was executed on May 11 for his murder conviction in the 1978 murder of Arizona State University student Dina Bowdoin.
His execution was criticized by death penalty experts because it took about 30 minutes for officials to insert an IV to deliver the deadly drug, and 10 minutes to die after that.
He said that from the beginning of the IV entry process till the prisoner is declared brought dead, the death sentence should last from seven to 10 minutes.
The execution team first tried and failed to insert an IV into Dixon’s left hand, before they could attach it to their right hand. Then they made an incision in her groin area for another IV line.
Dixon was executed in the state for the first time since the July 2014 execution of Joseph Wood, who was given 15 doses of a combination of the two drugs in about two hours.
Wood snorted repeatedly and gasped before dying. His lawyer said that the execution was put on hold. ,
This story rectifies that the execution witness who said Atwood did not complain about back pain was Arizona Daily Star reporter Henry Braine, not KVOA-TV reporter Lupita Murillo. ,
Billoud from Phoenix reported.