Greek Orthodox convert Frank Atwood, who was executed on Wednesday 8 June 2022 by lethal injection for the 1984 Arizona murder of 8-year-old girl Vicki Lynne Hoskinson, insisted on his innocence to the very day of his execution.
In a statement issued by Atwood before the execution, he addresses the family of Vicki Hoskinson saying that although he is innocent of the crime, "my profound prayer is that my death will give you and yours some form of relief and closure from your unending misery and torment."
As reported by Greek City Times, Vicki went missing after leaving her home in Tucson to drop a birthday card in a nearby mailbox in September 1984. Her body was found in the desert in April 1985.
The U.S. Supreme Court cleared the way for Atwood’s execution Wednesday morning after rejecting a final appeal by his lawyers. He died at 10:16 a.m., Brnovich said.
On Tuesday 7 June , the State Department of Corrections allowed Atwood, who converted to the Greek Orthodox Church in prison, to be visited by religious advisers, Atwood’s attorney Joseph Perkovich told the Arizona Republic.
Witnesses to the execution said he thanked the priest for “coming today and shepherding me into the faith” and added: “I pray the Lord will have mercy on all of us and that the Lord will have mercy on me.”
Bud Foster, a journalist for CBS affiliate KOLD-TV who has witnessed multiple executions, including Wednesday’s, said the process of setting up IVs into Atwood for the lethal injection went smoothly and that “it was probably the most peaceful of any of the executions that I witnessed in the past.”
FULL STATEMENT BY FRANK ATWOOD ISSUED 25 MAY 2022:
“Thank you for the opportunity to address you. My name is Frank Atwood, and I am scheduled to be executed by the State of Arizona at 10:00am, on June 8, 2022. I am sentenced to die for a crime I did not commit, but I will let the evidence, support thereof by experts, and arguments advanced by my attorneys speak to my innocence.
Because this is my final occasion to address any group, it is my intention to speak from my heart as sincerely and truthfully as I can. As an adherent of Greek Orthodoxy, I have complete confidence of and faith in the reality that my soul will live eternally in Paradise with the Lord Jesus Christ, Whom I have come to know, obey, and love. I will at long last experience freedom from the earthly bonds that have crippled my body and caused me excruciating pain. And I will no longer live in a world in which others are caused pain by my very existence.
To the family of Vicki Lynn Hoskinson, I can honestly say that while I know you will never believe that I did not take her … I did not! That, however, does not change the fact that your pain is as real as anything possible in this lifetime can possibly be, and my profound prayer is that my death will give you and yours some form of relief and closure from your unending misery and torment.
I will leave this world with gratitude and love in my heart for some very special people. To my loving wife of thirty years, Sarah, who has accompanied me in better and in worse times, my devoted companion in the Greek Orthodox Faith, the love of my life and my best friend … I love you and thank you.
Also my spiritual father, Geronda Paisios, who has lovingly shepherded me in recent decades toward obedience to Christ’s commands, purification, and illumination, Gerontamou, my love for you transcends expression. Also the Greek Orthodox Church and many Monasteries throughout Cyprus, Greece, and the USA, your continued prayers have sustained me and until my last breath I will continue my prayers for you, and I beg your prayers to help me through the telonia.
Especial mention to the author of my return Home (to the Church), Met. Athanasios, my enlightener, Met. Hierotheos, also Geronda Nikodemos, Pater Philaretos, and monk Sofronios.
Mention must also be made of my friends and my legal team. Sam, Evan, Joe, David, and Amy, your tireless representation of me against society’s machinery of death and your comradery has been amazing and deeply appreciated. My friends Niko and Panos, I pray God blesses your kindness richly, thank you! Finally a couple of supporters, Michael Zoosman, with ” L’Chaim, Jews Against the Death Penalty,” and Abe Bonowitz, with “Death Penalty Action.” Bravo for your unending fight on my behalf and on behalf of America’s death row prisoners. I would also like to thank Eleni and Bishop Epiphanios.
In closing, I would like to ask that all of humanity will pray for Christ to have mercy on us, mercy we desperately need because of our tragic lack of prayer and repentance. Thank you for permitting me to have addressed you today. Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on me.”