Crime Trackers

May 3, 2012 12:16 PM

Justice Delayed: Convicted murderer still on death row, 25 years later

TUCSON - Twenty-five years ago this month, Frank Jarvis Atwood was sentenced to die for killing 8-year-old Vicki Lynn Hoskinson.

She was kidnapped while riding her bicycle in her Flowing Wells neighborhood in 1984. Her remains were later found in the desert on the northwest side.

It's a case that shook Tucson, much like the one involving 6 year old Isabel Celis. It led to the formation of the victim's rights group "We The People".

Bumper stickers saying "Don't Forget Vicki Lynn" were everywhere.

People still haven't forgotten her, and her loved ones are still waiting for her killer to be executed.
Frank Jarvis Atwood has denied killing Vicki Lynn. A jury of his peers didn't buy that, and neither has her family.

Atwood, on death row for a quarter of a century, says he's found God. He spoke to News 4's Lupita Murillo via telephone.

"Being stabbed a couple of times and everything in the last couple of years, would probably tend to provide some external visible examples that my desire to obey Christ and everything is legitimate," he said.

He's now married, earned four college degrees and a masters in literature and he's written and published five books.

Debbie Carlson, Vicki Lynn's mother, she said: "Twenty-five years is a long time, I would have loved to have had 25 more years with Vicki."

Retired Superior Court judge John Davis prosecuted the case.

"I remember when I married Stephanie, her older sister, Vicki Lynn should have been in that wedding," he said. "When her brother got married, Vicki Lynn should have been in that wedding."

The family honors Vickie Lynn's memory by having an empty chair at all the happy events. Carlson said: "It's what you make of it, we just chose not to let Frank Atwood destroy our life."

Bureau Chief Rick Kastigar, a deputy in 1984 helped search for Vickie Lynn, told News 4 Tucson: "I just hope at some future point that his case is finalized and that the family has piece of mind and heart at the loss of their daughter."

Atwood says he has two more appeals.

"There's been a development of evidence that indicates that the alleged paint on the bumper that they showed during the trial was simply not on the bumper when I was arrested," he said.

Carlson said: "He can say whatever he wants, but don't insult the intelligence of those 12 jurors, don't insult the United States Supreme Court for upholding his sentence already once."

Carlson is convinced there will be justice for Vickie Lynn.

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