Convicted killer Frank Atwood was executed by lethal injection Wednesday after the U.S. Supreme Court rejected a bid to stop his execution for the 1984 murder of an eight-year old Tucson girl, Cronkite News reports. Atwood was pronounced dead about an hour after the Supreme Court denied his final three petitions. It was the second execution in less than a month by the state, which had gone eight years without putting an inmate to death. For family members of the victim, Vicki Lynne Hoskinson, it was the end of a 37-year wait for justice. An attorney for Atwood, who long maintained his innocence, said the state executed him "despite lingering doubts about his guilt."
The possibility of another suspect was one claim Atwood raised in a flurry of last-minute appeals, along with arguments that the state's two methods of execution would cause him extreme pain due to a physical condition, and that they were unconstitutionally cruel. The Arizona Board of Executive Clemency refused on May 24 to commute Atwood’s sentence, leaving his fate to the courts. He was convicted in 1987 for the kidnapping and murder of Hoskinson, who disappeared while riding her bike. Atwood's attorneys argued that the FBI inspected Atwood's car and found no physical evidence that tied him to the crimes, and that witnesses pointed to another suspect. In his latest state appeal, Atwood claimed the state withheld information during his trial that would have pointed to another suspect. The Arizona Supreme Court said "due process does not require this Court to allow Appellant to wait until days before his scheduled execution to raise a claim that has been known and fully investigated."