Judge rejects Arizona prisoner’s bid to delay execution

Jun 4, 2022, 9:38 PM | Updated: Jun 5, 2022, 2:56 pm
FILE - This undated file photo provided by the Arizona Department of Corrections, Rehabilitation an...

FILE - This undated file photo provided by the Arizona Department of Corrections, Rehabilitation and Reentry shows Frank Atwood, who was sentenced to death in the 1984 killing of 8-year-old Vicki Hoskinson in Pima County, Ariz. A federal judge has denied Atwood's bid to delay his execution, according to the ruling posted Sunday, June 5, 2022. (Arizona Department of Corrections, Rehabilitation and Reentry via AP, File)

(Arizona Department of Corrections, Rehabilitation and Reentry via AP, File)

PHOENIX (AP) — A federal judge has denied an Arizona prisoner’s bid to delay his execution in the 1984 killing of an 8-year-old girl, according to the ruling posted Sunday.

U.S. District Judge Michael Liburdi’s decision keeps on track Wednesday’s scheduled execution of Frank Atwood, who argued the state’s death penalty procedures would violate his constitutional right against cruel and unusual punishment by subjecting him to unimaginable pain.

His lawyers said Atwood, who has a degenerative spinal condition that has left him in a wheelchair, would undergo excruciating suffering if he were strapped to a gurney while lying on his back during his lethal injection execution.

Liburdi said in the ruling made Saturday that he would not block the execution based on Atwood’s claim, noting that the state will provide Atwood with a medical wedge that will relieve pressure on his spine and can also tilt the execution table. He said those accommodations “will minimize the pain Plaintiff experiences when he lies on his back.”

The constitution, Liburdi wrote, “does not require a pain-free execution,” and that Atwood’s position will be similar to what he typically assumes in his cell to limit pain.

Liburdi also rejected challenges to the drug the state plans to use and dismissed Atwood’s claim over the Arizona’s use of the gas chamber, saying it was irrelevant because he will be executed using lethal injection.

The challenge to his method of execution is one of a flurry of last-minute appeals by Atwood. He’s also asking the Arizona Supreme Court to delay his execution while his lawyers pursue claims that he is actually innocent of killing the little girl. That court denied a stay late last week, but is now considering the new claim.

And his lawyers continue to spar with the state over religious accommodations prior to and during his execution. He has been a practitioner of the Greek Orthodox faith for more than two decades and wants the state to allow him to undergo a religious initiation ceremony before the execution and receive last rites while in the execution chamber. The state has mainly agreed, but the two sides are at odds over exact details. A different federal judge is overseeing that matter.

“The state’s insistence on cyanide gas is a cynical choice to force the acceptance of the danger and incompetence of its lethal injection method, at the cost of embracing Nazi methods of mass extermination,” Joseph Perkovich, an attorney for Atwood, said in an email Sunday.

Atwood was convicted of murder in the 1984 killing of Vicki Hoskinson.

Authorities have said Atwood kidnapped the girl, whose remains were discovered in the desert northwest of Tucson nearly seven months after her disappearance. Experts could not determine the cause of death from the remains that were found, according to court records.

Atwood maintains that he is innocent of the crimes.

Until last month, Arizona went almost eight years without carrying out an execution. The hiatus has been attributed to the difficulty of securing lethal injection drugs as manufacturers refuse to supply them and to problems encountered during the July 2014 execution of Joseph Wood, who was given 15 doses of a two-drug combination over nearly two hours. Wood snorted repeatedly and gasped before he died. His attorney said the execution had been botched.

The hiatus ended on May 11 when the state executed prisoner Clarence Dixon for his murder conviction in the 1978 killing of Deana Bowdoin, a 21-year-old Arizona State University student.

As part of Atwood’s argument to get his execution delayed, his lawyers questioned whether the compounded pentobarbital to be used in the execution meets pharmaceutical standards and whether the state has met a requirement that the drug’s expiration date falls after the execution date.

Prosecutors say Atwood was trying to indefinitely postpone his execution through legal maneuvers.

Two weeks ago, Atwood declined to choose between lethal injection or the gas chamber, leaving him to be put to death by lethal injection, the state’s default execution method.

Arizona, California, Missouri and Wyoming are the only states with decades-old lethal-gas execution laws still on the books. Arizona, which carried out the last gas chamber execution in the United States more than two decades ago, is the only state to still have a working gas chamber.

In recent years, Oklahoma, Mississippi and Alabama have passed laws allowing executions with nitrogen gas, at least in some circumstances, though experts say it’s never been done and no state has established a protocol that would allow it.

Atwood’s lawyers also said Arizona could take up executions by firing squad, a method of execution not used in the state.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

Associated Press

Hurricane Bonnie drives westward off Mexico’s Pacific coast

MEXICO CITY (AP) — Hurricane Bonnie strengthened while moving roughly parallel to Mexico’s Pacific coast Tuesday after crossing over Central America from the Caribbean and dropping heavy rain, contributing to at least two deaths. Forecasters said they expected the hurricane, now a Category 2 storm, to pose no threat to land as it headed generally […]
1 day ago
Associated Press

Greek PM criticizes ‘constant aggressive behavior’ of Turkey

ATHENS, Greece (AP) — Greece’s prime minister said Tuesday that Russia’s war in Ukraine is a “turning point” in the course of Europe, stressing that any type of outcome that could embolden aggression by other nations on the continent must be avoided. Greece, which has long-standing disputes with far larger neighbor Turkey that brought them […]
1 day ago
Associated Press

Spain boosts military spending to close gap with NATO goal

BARCELONA, Spain (AP) — Spain is increasing military spending as it works toward meeting a NATO commitment by dedicating 2% of gross domestic product to defense, the Spanish government said Tuesday. Cabinet members approved a one-off expenditure of almost 1 billion euros ($1 billion) for Spain’s Defense Ministry that the government said was needed to […]
1 day ago
Associated Press

Germany considers aid for struggling energy firms

BERLIN (AP) — The German government has drawn up a plan that would allow it to aid struggling energy companies more easily — a move that comes amid efforts to shore up Uniper, Germany’s biggest importer of Russian gas. The plan, approved Tuesday by the Cabinet but still requiring parliamentary approval, aims to give the […]
1 day ago
Associated Press

Activists protest over Spain’s San Fermin bull-run festival

PAMPLONA, Spain (AP) — Dozens of animal rights activists dressed as dinosaurs were chased by fellow activists through the streets of the Spanish city of Pamplona on Tuesday to protest alleged animal cruelty in the world famous San Fermin Running of the Bulls festival. In the protest Tuesday, the dinosaurs were supposed to represent bulls […]
1 day ago
CORRECTS TO A LAKE FOREST POLICE OFFICER, INSTEAD OF LAKE COUNTY A Lake Forest, Ill., police office...
Associated Press

July 4 parade shooting leaves 6 dead, 30 hurt; man detained

HIGHLAND PARK, Ill. (AP) — A shooter fired on an Independence Day parade from a rooftop in suburban Chicago, spraying the crowd with gunshots initially mistaken for fireworks before hundreds of panicked revelers of all ages fled in terror. At least six people were killed and at least 30 wounded. An hourslong manhunt during which […]
1 day ago

Sponsored Articles

Swedish Cyberknife 900x506...

June is Men’s Health Month: Here’s Why It’s Important To Speak About Your Health

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, men in the United States, on average, die five years earlier than women.
...

Anacortes – A Must Visit Summertime Destination

While Anacortes is certainly on the way to the San Juan Islands (SJI), it is not just a destination to get to the ferry… Anacortes is a destination in and of itself!
...

Ready for your 2022 Alaskan Adventure with Celebrity Cruises?

Celebrity Cruises SPONSORED — A round-trip Alaska cruise from Seattle is an amazing treat for you and a loved one. Not only are you able to see and explore some of the most incredible and visually appealing natural sights on the planet, but you’re also able to relax and re-energize while aboard a luxury cruise […]
...

Compassion International Is Determined to ‘Fill’ a Unique Type of Football ‘Stadium’

Compassion International SPONSORED — During this fall’s football season—and as the pandemic continues to impact the entire globe—one organization has been urging caring individuals to help it “fill” a unique type of “stadium” in order to make a lasting difference in the lives of many. Compassion International’s distinctive Fill the Stadium (FtS, fillthestadium.com) initiative provides […]
...

What are the Strongest, Greenest, Best Windows?

Lake Washington Windows & Doors SPONSORED — Fiberglass windows are an excellent choice for window replacement due to their fundamental strength and durability. There is no other type of window that lasts as long as fiberglass; so why go with anything else? Fiberglass windows are 8x stronger than vinyl, lower maintenance than wood, more thermally […]
...

COVID Vaccine is a Game-Changer for Keeping our Kids Healthy

Snohomish Health District SPONSORED — Cheers to the parents and guardians who keep their kids safe and healthy. The dad who cooks a meal with something green in it, even though he’s tired and drive-thru burgers were tempting. The mom who calms down the little one who loudly and resolutely does NOT want to brush […]
Judge rejects Arizona prisoner’s bid to delay execution