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Attorney general seeks execution warrant for man convicted for murdering Tucson 8-year-old

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Arizona Attorney General's Office
Frank Jarvis Atwood

TUCSON (KVOA) - A death row inmate who was convicted for kidnapping and killing a Tucson 8-year-old in 1984 may soon receive a lethal injection after Attorney General Mark Brnovich announced Tuesday that he is seeking a warrant for his execution.

Back in 1987, Frank Jarvis Atwood was convicted for kidnapping 8-year-old Vicki Lynne Hoskinson when she was riding home on her bicycle after she mailed her aunt a birthday card. Atwood reportedly killed the 8-year-old and left her body in the desert near Ina Road.

He then fled to Texas, where he was later arrested.

While Atwood was sentenced to death on a related first-degree murder charge in 1987, Arizona has not carried out an execution since 2014 after pharmaceutical companies made the decision to no longer sell drugs related to lethal injections to the state, according to the Associated Press.

The AP reported on March 5 that the state has secured a supply of the lethal injection drug after a seven-year hiatus.

In addition, due to the fact that Hoskinson was murdered before Nov. 23, 1992, Atwood may select either lethal injection or gas under ARS 13-757, according to the attorney general's office.

As Atwood reportedly exhausted all of his appeals to execution, Brnovich notified Arizona Supreme Court of the State’s intent to seek warrants of execution for the convicted murderer and one more death row inmate, who was identified as Clarence Dixon, the man convicted for raping, strangling, and stabbing a ASU student to death in 1978.

“Capital punishment is the law in Arizona and the appropriate response to those who commit the most shocking and vile murders,” Brnovich said. “This is about the administration of justice and ensuring the last word still belongs to the innocent victims who can no longer speak for themselves.”

According to the attorney general, execution warrants for the two men will be filed 16 days before the Arizona Supreme Court's conference date if the court agrees with Brnovich's proposed schedule.

The death row inmates will then be allowed one day to respond. The attorney general will then be given six days to respond to their response.

The attorney general's office said, "if the Arizona Supreme Court grants the motions, the State has 35 days to carry out the executions."

Court officials say while Atwood was in Tucson, he reportedly violated his parole in connection to sentences related to lewd and lascivious acts and kidnapping in California. Officials said he was convicted in separate incidents in reference to these acts, which targeted two different children.

Atwood was also sentenced to life in prison for kidnapping in connection to Hoskinson's case.

Joseph Perkovich, Atwood's attorney released a statement shortly after the attorney general made his announcement.

“Frank Atwood’s litigation since early 2020 has been frustrated by the COVID-19 pandemic," Perkovich said. "The State is now attempting to sweep aside the most profound issues that can arise in our legal system, including whether the convicted is actually guilty of the crime and whether death is a morally or legally tenable punishment in the individual’s case. Mr. Atwood needs the opportunity to present these issues before the Arizona Supreme Court entertains setting an execution date.”  

At this time, there are 115 inmates on Arizona’s death row, of those about 20 have exhausted all their appeals.

EDITOR'S NOTE: The headline of this article previously said the executive warrant has been filed. It has not yet been filed at this time.

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Anthony Victor Reyes

Anthony Victor Reyes is the lead digital content producer at News 4 Tucson. The award-winning journalist previously worked as a community reporter in Jasper County, Iowa.

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