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Child murder case: Death penalty appeal 30 years later

Posted at 6:48 PM, Mar 28, 2017
and last updated 2017-03-28 21:48:30-04
TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) - The case of a child murdered thirty three years ago is still in the courts and still haunting the family eight year old Vicki Lynne Hoskinson left behind.
 
Her remains were found at the end of Ina Road in 1984.
         
A jury ruled Frank Jarvis Atwood was her killer.  He was sentenced to death.  Atwood has spent the years since trying to escape the death penalty.  Now an appeals court hearing coming up shows Atwood is running out of options.
 
The last time her family saw her, Vicki Lynne Hoskinson was riding her pink bicycle--heading out to mail a birthday card. 
         
A spot of pink paint on the bumper of Frank Jarvis Atwood's car was one of the keys to his murder conviction.
         
Since he was sentenced to death, Atwood has posed a variety of arguments to try to get the death sentence reduced to life.
          
Atwood claimed sheriff's deputies planted the pink paint on his car. Most recently his attorneys argued his first lawyer should have told the jury Atwood was molested as a child but prosecutors argued raising the molestation claim would have revealed Atwood's mental health record, and his history as a pedophile.
          
After years of losing in lower courts, Atwood's fight to escape death has reached Federal Appeals Court.  In June, three judges from the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals will spend 30 minutes hearing Atwood's case.
           
There is still the chance for more years of appeals if the determination Atwood has shown so far carries the case to the Supreme Court.  
           
That will mean more pain and uncertainty for Vicki Lynn Hoskinson's family.  Her sister maintains a website called Love Never Forgets.  It remember the little girl and traces the years the family has waited for Frank Atwood to pay for her death, with his.