According to a ruling issued Sunday, a federal judge has denied an Arizona prisoner’s request to postpone his execution for the 1984 murder of an 8-year-old child.
On Sunday, Judge Michael Liburdi of the United States District Court for the District of Arizona decided against 66-year-old Frank Atwood who is set to be executed on Wednesday. Atwood’s attorneys attempted to stop the execution by claiming that the state’s death sentence tactics violated Atwood’s constitutional right to be free from cruel and unusual punishment.
Atwood, who is in a wheelchair due to a degenerative spinal disease, would experience tremendous pain, his lawyer said. The lawyers shared that if he was strapped to a gurney and executed by lethal injection while lying on his back, he would suffer greatly.
Atwood’s lawyers have filed various appeals in an attempt to block or delay his scheduled execution. On May 24, the Arizona Board of Executive Clemency unanimously denied Atwood’s motion after the team requested to pause it while looking for leads on whether or not Atwood was guilty. He has also requested that his execution be postponed by the Arizona Supreme Court.
Liburdi stated in his judgment on Saturday that he would not stop the execution because of Atwood’s claim. The state will supply the convict with a medical wedge, according to the judge. It can also tilt the execution table, relieving pressure on his back. Liburdi noted that the constitution “does not demand a pain-free execution,” but that the inmate’s position will be comparable to what he usually assumes in his cell to limit pain.
The drug that the state intends to utilize was also rejected by the judge. He ignored Atwood’s claim that a death row convict in Arizona used the gas chamber. He claimed that it didn’t matter because he would be executed by lethal injection.
Vicki Lynne Hoskinson, an 8-year-old girl from Pima County, was abducted by Atwood in 1984. Hoskinson’s body was discovered a month after his arrest, and he was charged with first-degree murder. According to court filings, experts were unable to pinpoint the cause of death based on the remains. Atwood has always maintained his innocence.
Atwood would be Arizona’s second execution in the previous two months. Clarence Wayne Dixon was the first man killed by lethal injection in Arizona in nearly eight years on May 11.
Watch it here: Youtube/FOX 10 Phoenix