Delayed until May 11th, 2015

Someone recently said to me “Can you ask the courts to change Atwood’s sentence to life in prison instead of the death penalty so you don’t have to go through this anymore?”

I said, “Sure, if I want to take the chance of him being a FREE man.”

“Why? I thought if we abolish the death penalty those guys just get life in prison…”

Let’s face it cases just like Vicki’s are classic examples of why the death penalty does not work. Delay after delay, appeal after appeal, hundreds of thousands of dollars spent, and heart ache with each step forward or back.

To honestly answer the question of WHY we don’t fight for life imprisonment for Atwood vs. our continued quest for the death penalty has nothing to do with closure for our family.

Based on the laws at the time of Atwood’s sentencing almost 28 years he would be parole eligible today. And, although I would like to think that a parole board would never grant him parole, I never dreamed in a million years that my family would still be fighting for justice for her 30 years later. The sheer thought of him possibly ever walking the streets as a free man is reason enough to continue my quest to fight for the death penalty.

For those who are under the impression that converting these ‘ol death penalty cases to life imprisonment would be simple and easy think again. It’s not.

Late yesterday we were notified by the Attorney General’s Office that Atwood’s defense team was granted yet another delay to file in their brief to the 9th Circuit Court until May 11th.

I realize that the defense is playing a game with time and lots of money. And, to try to express the frustration and anger is virtually impossible. The delay was well anticipated but the punch in the gut when you receive the news always feels the same.

What we will do is continue to push and fight for justice for a little girl who no longer has a voice. We will do our best to believe in a broken system. We won’t ever give up on her…

Don’t forget Vicki Lynne.

Vicki Lynne 1984

Vicki Lynne 1984

Grieving through the holidays

“This is the most wonderful time of the year…” I love what the holidays bring to our home. The traditions we continue to embrace, the time with our family and friends building memories and remembering the true meaning for the season.

But, I have to admit, it can also be the most difficult time of the year. My heart has ached in recent weeks as I have scrolled through social media and had a glimpse into the personal loss and mourning or struggles with illness that so many of my friends are going through. One who just lost his brother in a tragic car wreck, one whose young son is battling the ugly “C” word, one who will have her first Christmas without her mom, another who had to say good-bye to their family dog, one who’s husband is battling the ugly “C” word along with other’s who are living through another year without their grandparents, parents, siblings, spouse or best friend…

Grieving through the holidays is the hardest thing I continue to do in my own life. When one of my dearest friends posted pictures on Facebook of the beautifully decorated gravesite of my sister, I wept and memories flooded my mind of Christmas past, especially the first one without Vicki…

Vicki's Gravesite  December 12, 2014

Vicki’s Lynnes Gravesite
December 12, 2014

Such a bittersweet time of year.

So, as Christmas is approaching, my wish is that you take a moment out of your busy and hectic schedule to reach out and say hello. Call someone you haven’t talked to in a while, flash a smile to a stranger, but let people know how much you love them, no matter the time or distance between you. Take a moment to get on your knees and pray. Life is a beautiful amazing gift, no matter how hard this moment may be.

From my family to yours, I wish you all the very best this Christmas season.

Delayed in the 9th Circuit… again…

Vicki & I, 1979

Vicki & I, 1979

March 12th, 2015 is the new filing date that the defense counsel in the case of State of Arizona v. Atwood, Cause # CR 14065 has to file in the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals.

Stalled again in our fight to bring justice to Vicki Lynne. 

The range of emotions that come with yet another delay are hitting every scope of the spectrum. Trying to convince my logical mind that there is a reason for everything, to be faithful & trust in God’s plan and not let this consume my every thought and emotion is simply difficult…

And the questions are pouring in… Why another delay? How many more can he have? Why is it that the justice system seem to keep giving him all the breaks? How come others from death row who committed murder long after Atwood took Vicki’s life in 1984 have been executed but he still sits, wasting our tax payer dollars every day?

I can’t answer any of them… nor can anyone else, which is even more frustrating, and makes me feel even more helpless when all I want to do is bring justice to a little girl who’s life was taken far too soon… who was a sister, a daughter, a granddaughter, a niece, a cousin, a friend…

And while we face this delay, I also have to be realistic that the March date isn’t definitive either. Or the fact that our road is still very long, and there are no guarantees that new case law can come along and alter our path as it has in the past. But, what I can hope for is that in the grand scheme of things that our case will impact a very broken judicial system, and that maybe, just maybe it will help make legislative changes so that another family might not have to suffer this judicial hell the way we have.

So, tonight, I will do my best to smile through the tears and continue to fight for justice for my sissy…

September 17… 30 years later

Vicki Lynne 1984

Vicki Lynne 1984

September 16, 1984, we were an average American family, normal as far as I knew. My parents had divorced, both had remarried making my family larger. Vicki & I lived with our mom who had married George (dad), he brought his daughter, Carie, from his first marriage into our lives, together they had my brother, Brian. My dad (Ron) married Tammy, who was pregnant and expected to deliver my brother, Larry, in October of 1984.

As kids, we spent many of our Saturday nights going to the race track to cheer on our Papas, and our weeks playing softball, a sport we both loved! We enjoyed trips to the lake, playing in our neighborhood with friends and going to school.

Sunday, September 16, our mom, dad, Vicki, Brian I were out looking at campers we were going to purchase for our family. I remember being pretty excited about one we had looked at! I was sure my parents would go back and buy it!!! Funny, how some of the happiest moments can be replayed in our minds…

Monday, September 17, was a normal school day. Vicki & I got up, and she went on to Homer Davis Elementary where she was in the 3rd grade. I had just entered the 6th grade at Flowing Wells Junior High, both schools were just a few blocks from our home. Little did I know that that morning when we parted ways to school that it would be the last time I would ever see my sister alive or that the events of that afternoon would still be such vivid memories in my mind today. 

I had joined the Cross Country Team at FWJH, we generally had practice daily after school. But during my last period of the day I was informed that practice had been cancelled. 

I can still close my eyes and see the girls locker room of FWJH. There was a big glass window in the office that looked into the locker room, it was where I used the phone to call my mom to tell her cross country practice had been cancelled and I would be coming straight home after school but the line was busy. No call waiting, no call waiting caller id. It was 1984. 

I headed home after school with the rest of the kids in the neighborhood.

I still remember the look of surprise on my mom’s face when it was me walking through the front door… Mom told me she had let Vicki ride her bike to the mailbox a few blocks away to mail my aunt’s birthday card. My mom never let us go out alone, but was growing concerned because Vicki should have been back by now. I could ride my bike and find her, she probably stopped by to see her best friend, Jen.

And the innocent sense of freedom I felt riding my bike for the first time alone, knowing Vicki would be in BIG trouble for stopping off at Jen’s house (her best friend) and losing track of time, when she got home…

And how puzzled I was when she wasn’t at Jen’s…

And the sense of panic I felt the moment I found Vicki’s bike in the middle of the road, she was no where to be found…

And the faces of my friends as I road my bike frantically through our quiet little neighborhood calling for Vicki, them asking me what was wrong??? 

And my mom’s utter distress when I came back home without her…

It was 1984… and when I learned pure evil exists. 

I have struggled these last weeks, searching for the words to properly convey the emotions that this day brings but I have honestly come up short… 

And as much as I wanted to post a blog filled with loving memories about Vicki on the 30th anniversary of her death, I can’t. 

I can’t because there has been no justice in our failed system. The monster that took Vicki’s innocent life that September day still sits on Death Row in Florence, AZ. 

Because we are NOT battling whether or not Frank Atwood is guilty of the kidnapping, sexual assault or brutal murder of my sister, but whether or not his counsel was “ineffective” at the time of his trial and if he actually suffered from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder at the time he murdered my sister. 

And we are still waiting to see if his defense team will actually file an opening brief by November 21, 2014 in the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals or file yet another extension that could possibly be granted by the court. 

Because I have to explain to my children the evils of the world; not because they exist, but because it happened to my life and still continues to happen, 30 years later. 

And because 10,957 days is a really, really, really long time for a family to not have closure and be able to move on…

So, today, I will do my best to to smile through the tears, and continue to fight for justice for my sissy…

Delayed Until November

Vicki Lynne 1984

Vicki Lynne 1984

Last week, the United States Courts for the Ninth Circuit granted Atwood’s defense team an extension in filing their opening brief until November 21, 2014. As I stated in a previous blog, I should have placed a Las Vegas wager that this would happen as it was a much anticipated move by Atwood’s defense team, claiming the case is long, complicated and they needed more time to prepare the brief on his behalf.

Borrowed time on our tax paying dime, as they continue to manipulate the legal system to their benefit.

It’s been 10,860 days since Atwood kidnapped, sexually assaulted and murdered my 8 year old sister, Vicki Lynne. 10,860 days he has lived on this earth, freeloading off the tax payers, getting a college education, writing books and selling them from his website, repeatedly trying to have contact with children through the mail and fighting for his life that should have ended long ago for the brutal crime he committed.

The clock is ticking for Atwood, and as each day passes we are one day closer to seeing his punishment being carried out. For now, I have satisfaction in knowing he is haunted by Vicki’s cries and the horrible torture he put her through, secretly wishing he was dead.

This delay is frustrating and so incredibly difficult to explain to those who carry this horribly tragic and personal story in their hearts. Why will we have to wait any longer? It’s already been 29 years, 8 months and 26 days to see justice carried out.

Today, I continue to have confidence in our attorneys as they prepare for what lies ahead, and pray for the panel of judges who will hear our case… and will wait to see what November brings.

1st Annual Vicki Lynne Memorial Scholarship

What an incredible month it has been since we kicked off our fundraising efforts to help support the 1st Annual Vicki Lynne Memorial Scholarship!

For many years our family has wanted to do a scholarship at Flowing Wells High School in memory of Vicki and when we realized this year would mark what would have been Vicki’s 20th High School Reunion, we began to plan to make it happen.

Then Beth Moller, an Independent Silpada Respresentative, and one of my very best friends since the 8th grade, approached me about doing a joint fundraising effort with her company. I don’t think either one of us had any idea what an amazing journey this would be!!

As I said, Beth has been one of my best friends since the 8th grade. When her family moved to Tucson from Wisconsin, it wasn’t long after the kidnapping and murder of my sis, Vicki Lynne. She, like countless other friends who were students in our small Flowing Wells Community, walked this very personal journey with me. Our perspective and life was altered through this very tragic crime, and for Beth, wanting to be a part of making this scholarship happen was deeply imbedded in her heart.

In just under a month we raised double our original goal. And, I do not know the time or tears that Beth poured into this effort but I am so incredibly grateful for her love, passion and long time friendship! Love you to the moon Beth!

And, thank you to all those who supported this effort! It is amazing and humbling that after all these years, our family continues to be so blessed with love and support.  I believe if I named each individual who this story continues to touch I could fill a best selling book!

The recipient of the 1st Annual Vicki Lynne Memorial Scholarship at Flowing Wells High School will be presented tonight, May 6th 2014.

I know that I speak not only for myself, my family, and Beth, but for all those that supported this effort that we wish all the best to the young woman who is awarded this scholarship. And, we hope that you know that YOU were chosen to receive this not only because of your academic accomplishments but because of your passion to follow your dreams in music, your optimistic spirit, your genuine kindness to others and how you strive everyday to make such a positive impact on the lives of those you meet! It gives us great honor to give this gift to help you follow your dreams!

Our family will continue to support the students of Flowing Wells High School with the annual Vicki Lynne Memorial Scholarship in years to come! We are thrilled to support and give back to the students of our community!

Vicki Lynne Hoskinson, first day of 3rd grade, Homer Davis Elementary School, August 20, 1984

Vicki Lynne Hoskinson, first day of 3rd grade, Homer Davis Elementary School, August 20, 1984

“Shaking” our Silver for Vicki Lynne!!!!

Sparkle & Shine with Silpada Designs!!!!

Kicking off April 2014 with a fundraiser in honor of the 1st Annual Vicki Lynne Scholarship!  This year marks what would have been Vicki’s 20th year high school reunion, and our family has committed to awarding a scholarship to a graduating senior from Flowing Wells High School on April 30th, 2014.

We WELCOME you to join us in supporting this cause with Silpada and one of my very best friends, Beth Moller!  Mother’s Day and Graduation are just around the corner! Want to host a catalog party? We will supply you with all that you need! Want to spoil that special someone, we can help! Don’t know what she wants? We can get you a Gift Certificate so she can shop away!

We will all be SHAKING it the way Vicki would want us to!

Want to start shopping? Beth’s Silpada Page & Choose “Vicki Lynne Scholarship Fundraiser 2014” as your hostess!!!

Have questions with your order, want to book a party or buy a gift certificate?

Call Beth directly at 210.638.9503

 2014 Vicki Lynne Scholarship Fundraiser

2014 Vicki Lynne Scholarship Fundraiser Page 2

 

2014 Vicki Lynne Scholarship Fundraiser Page 3

Vicki Lynne’s Tree

Vicki Lynne’s schoolmates plant tree for her

It’ll blossom yellow for the missing girl

Headline from the Tucson Citizen, February 8, 1985

It was Arbor Day 1985 and the day that we planted a tree in hope for Vicki’s safe return in the courtyard of Homer Davis Elementary School where Vicki was in the 3d grade. Along with the tree, a time capsule was buried full of poems, pictures and letters to Vicki from her family, teachers, friends and classmates.

Today it is a beautiful bloom of yellow that continues to give us life.

Vicki Lynne's Tree planted at Homer Davis Elementary School Arbor Day, 1985

Vicki Lynne’s Tree planted at Homer Davis Elementary School Arbor Day, 1985

Last October (2013) longtime friend, Judi Spencer, approached our family with an idea from her son, Travis. He wanted to make a plaque to mark the tree, and help future generations understand the significance of the Palo Verde tree standing so tall today.

Judi and her two children, Travis & Jennifer’s friendship weaves a special place in our hearts and lives.  Jennifer was Vicki’s best friend, and the last person to see her alive before she was taken from us in September of 1984. They have walked this incredibly tough journey with us all these years andTravis’ desire to make this plaque makes it all the more touching.

Vicki’s Lynne’s Tree now has a beautiful plaque made with love and the story will hang in the office of Homer Davis Elementary School for all those to read.

Plaque for Vicki Lynne's Tree made by Travis Spencer, 2014

Plaque for Vicki Lynne’s Tree made by Travis Spencer, 2014

Justice for Vicki Lynne – Part 7

Vicki Lynne Hoskinson, 4Monday, February 24, 2014 the defense team representing Frank Atwood filed yet another motion to the U. S. District Court, asking that the Honorable Judge John C. Coughenour to reconsider part of his ruling handed down on January 27, 2014. This came just a few days before the defense was expected to file their appeal to the United States Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.

They were asking the court to “alter or amend the judgement” in regards to their claims of ineffective counsel by attorney Dan Davis, who represented Atwood in the Post Conviction Relief phase and the beginning of the Writ of Habeas Corpus.

The Honorable Judge Coughenour DENIED this motion Friday, February 28th, 2014.

The seven pages of convoluted claims read more like a desperate last minute effort to stall the deadline to file before the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. They have now, 30 days to file before the court.

I would place a large Las Vegas bet that the defense team will ask for an extension before the court, most likely claiming that they need more time to prepare their appeal. Honestly, considering the fact that this defense team has logged in thousands of man hours on this case, it seems professionally embarrassing to think they need more time, but asking for an extension buys Frank Atwood just that, TIME.

I have the utmost confidence that the clock is ticking on Atwood’s fate and that both the United States Ninth Circuit and Supreme Courts will concur with the rulings that the Honorable Judge John Coughenour made.

For now we will wait to see what the defense team does in the next 30 days. And, we will continue in our fight to bring justice to Vicki Lynne.

 

 

A Victory for Vicki!

Vicki Lynne 1984

Vicki Lynne 1984

Today we had a huge victory in our fight to bring justice to Vicki.

The United States District Court Judge Honorable John C. Coughenour, denied Atwood’s last petition in the Writ of Habeas Corpus. In the 53 page ruling, the judge denied his Motion for Reconsideration Based Upon Martinez v. Ryan, his motion to amend the habeas petition & all amendments are denied with prejudice.

We have anxiously awaited this ruling since the hearings that took place in October & November, 2013, as it would determine what would happen with this case moving forward. Today’s ruling keeps Frank Atwood on Death Row in Florence, Arizona, exactly where he needs to be for the 1984 kidnapping and murder of my eight year old sister, Vicki Lynne Hoskinson.

We will assume that Atwood and his defense counsel will exercise their rights to appeal this ruling & petition to the United State Courts for the Ninth Circuit in the next 30 days. It would, honestly be to easy to think, that Atwood, in this monumental defeat today, would take his punishment as it was given to him and not fight any further. So, once this case is appealed to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, we will wait optimistically for them to rule. When they rule in our favor, Atwood’s defense team can continue to appeal it to the United States Supreme Court. The case against Atwood has been to the United States Supreme Court twice, both times the honorable court has denied his petitions.

Today is another big step forward in bringing justice to Vicki in our almost 30 year fight since her murder. To say that today’s ruling is a relief is an understatement, and continues to give our family confidence that justice will prevail, and her murderer will be properly punished.

Don’t Forget Vicki Lynne.