Supreme Court declined to stop death sentence on Wednesday
The state of Arizona has executed a man convicted of the 1984 killing of an 8-year-old girl.
Frank Atwood, 66, died by lethal injection on Wednesday, after the US Supreme Court declined to pause his death sentence. He was pronounced deat at 10.16am, according to the Arizona Attorney General’s office.
“I pray the Lord will have mercy on all of us and that the Lord will have mercy on me,” were his last words, according to witnesses.
Atwood was accused of killing 8-year-old Vicki Hoskinson, whose body was found in the desert after being missing for months. She was last seen leavnig her home in Tucson to drop off a birthday card nearby.
Hoskinson’s mother, Debbie Carlson, was in attendance at the execution.
“Vicki was a vibrant little girl with an infectious laugh and a smile that would melt your heart,” she told reporters.
“Her royal blue eyes reflected an old soul of wisdom, and her freckled nose was unique and we are blessed to see it in our grandchildren today,” she added. “Vicki was a feisty little one that always kept you on your toes and will forever be known as dennis the menace, giggling all the way.”
After a string of death penalty controversies, the state of Arizona paused executions for nearly eight years, before resuming them in May with inmate Clarence Dixon.
In July of 2014, it took state officials nearly two hours and 15 doses of lethal injection drugs to kill death row prisoner Joseph Wood, who snorted and gasped before he died.
His attorneys argued the state failed to conduct the execution humanely.
Nearly eight years later, and Atwood’s attorneys had argued state officials were gearing up for another improper execution.
They questioned whether the state was using experied execution drugs, and argued that the lethal injection procedure would be extremely painful for Atwood, who had a spinal condition.
Arizona has no more executions schedule so far, but has 110 death row prisoners.