Stop the Execution of Frank Atwood in Arizona
Arizona Governor Doug Ducey
Frank Atwood is scheduled for execution in Arizona on June 8, 2022 for the alleged 1984 murder of Vicky Hoskinson. Frank Atwood maintains his innocence. His web page is here. Click here to read the filings asserting actual innocence submitted by attorneys on May 17, 2022
(Update as of May 28, 2022): Frank Atwood has been denied clemency and the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has denied his request to be allowed further court proceedings to examine remaining questions arising from evidence developed after his conviction. An appeal to the US Supreme Court may be anticipated. A challenge to the anticipated method of execution is set to be argued at the US District Court of Arizona on Friday. Frank is wheelchair-bound due to back issues and it will be extremely painful for him to be laid flat on an execution gurney. The most recent press release explaining the situation is here.
The following is from the Arizona Capital Representation Project
The State is attempting to begin the execution process for Mr. Atwood, despite open legal issues—including whether he is innocent—that need resolution to ensure any measure of reliability in this conviction and death sentence. Mr. Atwood was convicted and sentenced to death for the 1984 murder of eight-year-old Vicki Lynne Hoskinson. Eyewitnesses reported seeing the child alive hours after the only time Mr. Atwood could have crossed paths with her. Yet the authorities zeroed in on Mr. Atwood, carrying out an investigation riddled with flaws and lacking in concrete evidence connecting him to the victim’s disappearance, let alone her death.
BACKGROUND ON FRANK ATWOOD’S CASE
In September 1984, Frank Atwood and a fellow-traveler were passing through Tucson when an eight-year-old girl, Vicki Lynne Hoskinson, disappeared while riding her bicycle.
Hours later, long after Mr. Atwood supposedly committed this crime, multiple witnesses spotted the girl at the Tucson Mall. But a tip put Mr. Atwood in the same neighborhood that afternoon. As soon as police learned of his California convictions for child sex-related offenses, they dropped all other investigations, and he was soon arrested. He answered officers’ questions and consented to a search of his car. No evidence of the victim was found.
Seven months later, some of the girl’s bones were found off the side of Ina Road, an arterial avenue. Long after Mr. Atwood’s trial, it emerged that these remains had been buried before they appeared on the desert floor.
The prosecution’s evidence showed there was nowhere near enough time for Mr. Atwood to have abducted, killed, and buried the victim.
Evidence later emerged that the State manufactured its only physical evidence connecting Mr. Atwood to the child – supposed contact between his car and her bicycle — but the courts have yet to get to the truth of that matter. That evidence has never been subjected to modern scientific testing.
Mr. Atwood, the son of a Holocaust survivor, is now wheelchair-bound and suffering from severe spinal deterioration among other medical problems that would make the process of executing him excruciatingly painful.
Arizona has a history of botched executions - it made horrendous errors in four executions in as many years. To resume executions, while the majority of states have abandoned the death penalty in either law or practice, is in direct opposition to the evolving standards of decency in our country.
If the courts do not intervene to allow a fresh look at newly developed evidence that Frank Atwood is innocent, we are calling on the Governor to issue a stay and grant clemency to Mr. Atwood by commuting his death sentence to time served.
Arizona Governor Doug Ducey
From: [Your Name]
We are writing to ask that you to stop the June 8, 2022 execution of Frank Atwood for the alleged 1984 murder of Vicky Hoskinson. There is strong convincing evidence that Frank Atwood could not have committed this crime.
We, the undersigned, ask that you do everything within your power to stop this execution, including issuing a stay, and seeking a path to clemency, if not exoneration, in this case.
Thank you for your time and attention to this urgent and serious matter.