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Arizona attorney general says Atwood execution never should have taken 40 years

Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich says 40 years is too long to wait for Frank Atwood to be put to death and it's finally time for justice to be served.
Published: Jun. 7, 2022 at 7:09 PM MST
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PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) — Frank Atwood is scheduled to be executed at 10 a.m. Wednesday after spending nearly 40 years in prison. He was convicted of murdering an 8-year-old girl named Vicki Lynne Hoskinson in Tucson back in 1984. Defense attorneys are still trying to file appeals to stop it, but Attorney General Mark Brnovich said it’s finally time for justice to be served. “I’ll be honest with you, Vicki Lynne’s mom- we’ve shared some tears together. And this has been very difficult on her going through this process,” said Brnovich.

In 1984, it was the first time Debbie Carlson ever let her 8-year-old daughter ride her bike alone in Tucson to mail a birthday card to her aunt. Unfortunately, her daughter never made it home and her remains were found months later. “There was a brutal murder of a young, innocent girl by a defendant that had been convicted previously of assaulting and raping kids in California,” said Brnovich.

It was a history of repetition. Frank Atwood was linked to the kidnapping and murder of Vicki, convicted of the brutal crime, and sentenced to death row after paint from Vicki’s bicycle was found on Atwood’s car. But it’s taken nearly 40 years to get to his execution date after his team has exhausted appeal after appeal. “My goodness, there’s no reason why this should have taken four decades,” Brnovich said.

The attorney general said right up until execution, Atwood’s defense attorneys will continue to fight to keep him alive. “We literally were in court today at the 9th Circuit fighting off an attempt by him to delay this again,” Brnovich said.

Until last month, Arizona went nearly eight years without executions due to trouble securing the lethal injection drugs from manufacturers after a controversial execution in 2014. So far, Atwood’s attorneys have tried to argue putting him to death is cruel and unusual punishment and that lying flat would put him in pain due to a back condition.

Brnovich said it’s important to remember there are checks and balances in the system for a reason and why there’s an execution happening in the first place. “Those who commit the ultimate crimes will get the ultimate punishment,” Brnovich said. Arizona’s Family did reach out to Vicki’s mom to see if she wanted to share any words about her daughter Tuesday but didn’t hear back.