Arizona Supreme Court issues warrant of execution for death row prisoner Frank Atwood

Jimmy Jenkins
Arizona Republic
Frank Atwood

The Arizona Supreme Court has issued a warrant of execution for death row prisoner Frank Atwood. Atwood, 65, was sentenced in Pima County in 1987 for the murder of an 8-year-old girl, Vicki Lynne Hoskinson.

Atwood's execution is scheduled for June 8, 2022. He has until May 19 to choose between the gas chamber or lethal injection as the method of his execution.

Attorneys for Atwood have previously argued the state has yet to produce information that supports its representation that the materials it intends to use for Atwood's execution will be safe and effective.

Atwood's attorney, Joseph Perkovich, said the Department of Corrections is presenting "false choices" to Atwood. Perkovich said restraining Atwood to a table in a supine position for a lethal injection would cause him a "maximum severity of pain" due to a severe spinal condition he suffers from, and the cyanide gas the Department of Corrections has acquired to use in the gas chamber would also cause a "torturous" amount of pain and suffering.

"By designating cyanide gas, the Department is cynically forcing Mr. Atwood to accept the torture of a lethal injection, playing out a version of the grim fate that befell the last person subjected to that method in Arizona," Perkovich said. "If the Department fails to revise its procedures to provide a constitutional form of lethal gas, then Arizona law should be revised to permit execution by firing squad, a simple and inexpensive method used since the invention of firearms."

Perkovich said a firing squad is an effective method used in several states.

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Atwood would be the second death row prisoner to be executed in Arizona in two months. Clarence Dixon is scheduled to be executed May 11, after his request for clemency was denied last week. Dixon, 65, was convicted in 2008 for the 1978 murder of Deana Bowdoin, a 21-year-old senior at Arizona State University.

Have a news tip on Arizona prisons? Reach the reporter at or at 812-243-5582. Follow him on Twitter @JimmyJenkins.

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