Go raibh mile maith agat!

Yellow Ribbons in Memory of Vicki Lynne“Go raibh mile maith agat!” translated literally in Irish as “may you have a thousand good things”.

As I look back over the very hectic, chaotic and trying months, I have been loved, blessed, lifted up and inspired in many ways… and as I googled different ways to say “thank you” to all those who have touched my life, I came across this Irish quote which just seemed to fit.

Realizing its been almost two months since my last blog (where has the time gone!?!?), I felt a need to give an update on our continued legal battle.

Since the Evidentiary Hearings in October & November, we are still waiting for U.S. District Court Judge, Honorable John Coughenour, to make a decision in our case.  I am confident that he will rule in our favor and the Arizona State Attorney General’s Office can move forward in our fight to bring justice for Vicki Lynne.

We will pray and wait.

I continue to tie yellow ribbons to the post outside our door as a reminder that we are still waiting, along with 8 pink ribbons to symbolize her. Bittersweet, but nonetheless it keeps it real.

Looking into the future, 2014 would have been Vicki’s 20 year high school reunion. In the spirit of honoring her memory, I am in the process of setting up a scholarship fund with hopes to give the first one this graduation. It has been a long time dream, and I am anxious to see it happen.

A Vicki Lynne Hoskinson Fundraiser Page has been created on Facebook, (thank you to Layne who continues to keep things updated!) and you can follow details & events there too!

With the holidays behind me and a new year at my feet, I am excited to get back to blogging. I hope that all of you had a wonderful holiday season, and that 2014 will be full of good health, happiness & memorable moments!

Justice for Vicki Lynne – Part 6

 

Vicki, 1st day of kindergarten

Vicki, 1st day of kindergarten

Monday, November 4th, 2013 was a continuation of the Evidentiary Hearing from  October to hear the testimony of Stanton Bloom, Atwood’s privately retained trial and sentencing attorney from 1985 to 1987.

Mr. Bloom, a successful and highly regarded defense attorney, has built an impeccable reputation for his passion of the law and our constitution, and is still said to be the attorney “you want in your corner”.  He started practicing law in Illinois in the mid 70s and when he moved to Arizona he brought an impeccable reputation with him. He continues to practice law today.

Frank Atwood was initially represented by Lamar Couser from the Pima County Public Defenders Office following his arrest for the kidnapping of my sister, Vicki Lynne.

Mr. & Mrs. John Atwood retained Mr. Bloom to represent their son, when he was not only facing kidnapping charges but murder as well. They claimed that their son had fallen victim to drugs and alcohol, but came from a loving and supportive home. They maintained this line of defense throughout the trial and the years that followed Atwood’s conviction.

Personally, I feel that Monday’s testimony from Mr. Bloom was significantly helpful for the State of Arizona in bringing justice for Vicki Lynne.

What is important to remember in this particular claim is that the defense has to prove that Atwood suffered from PTSD at the time of Vicki Lynne’s kidnapping and murder and that Stanton Bloom failed Atwood in his representation during the trial and sentencing.

On Monday, Mr. Bloom, in over two hours of testimony, was able to clearly explain his strategic legal defense of Atwood.  Stanton Bloom also testified that he was well aware of Atwood’s past, including Atwood’s feelings about society’s distorted views of sexual relations between adults and children, the molestation that occurred when Atwood was 14 (please note, Atwood did not feel that this molestation was wrong), Atwood’s drug and alcohol abuse, and the time Atwood spent in mental hospitals and prison/jail for crimes committed against children.

Mr. Bloom was able to testify to the state of Atwood’s mental health, and painted a very different picture of his former client than the current defense team is trying to present. He stated Atwood was having positive social interactions with him, his legal assistant, his mom, and other inmates, whom he gave counseling and encouragement to while he was in the Pima County Jail and awaiting his trial. And, that Atwood, who is an extremely intelligent person, was always taking notes, doing research and offering very constructive input in his defense.

In this particular line of questioning, Mr. Bloom was also able to clearly prove that he had had a history of dealing with clients with mental health issues, and he had even dealt with insanity cases prior to representing Atwood. Mr. Bloom was able to back up the knowledge and research he did by bringing in a suitcase full of books & literature on mental health that he referred to in 1985-1987 while representing Atwood, these books still remain in his possession today.

Mr. Bloom testified that not only did Atwood not want to have any evaluation by mental health professionals, that he actually refused and he and his parents strayed away from this line of defense, they maintained that the only problem Atwood had was drug abuse.

This was visibly upsetting to Atwood, as he sat shaking his head in disagreement. He testified in the October hearings that he had asked Mr. Bloom for professional mental health evaluations and Mr. Bloom failed to provide it.

Atwood lied. He lied under oath in court, and continues to lie about the kidnapping and murder of my sister, Vicki Lynne Hoskinson. He is a child murdering pedophile.

I do not envy the position that Stanton Bloom was in on Monday. He is a tenacious defense attorney with an impeccable reputation, and although he could have lied to help Atwood’s current defense team, he has morals and integrity, and he testified to the truth. Mr. Bloom is forward thinking, smart and ahead of his peers in the days he represented Atwood and now, that is clear.

We will optimistically and anxiously wait for the Honorable John Coughenour to make his ruling in this case in the next few weeks.

Justice is coming for Vicki, and it is coming soon.

Justice for Vicki Lynne – Part 5

Carie, Vicki & I, 1979

Carie, Vicki & I, 1979

Phoenix

Monday, November 4th, 2013 we will return to Sandra Day O’Connor U.S. Courthouse in Phoenix, AZ for the last part of the Evidentiary Hearing in the case of Arizona vs. Frank Atwood.

It seems somewhat ironic that the final hearing will take place in the city that convicted Atwood 27 years ago of the kidnapping and murder of my eight year old sister, Vicki Lynne.

I remember the courtroom in 1987, I was 13 when I testified just a few feet from Atwood that I found my sisters bike laying in the middle of the street that fateful day in September of 1984. And I clearly remember the day the jury handed down the guilty verdict.

I have often wondered what happened to the jury that sat through three months of his trial, how did it affect or change their lives? Do they follow the case still? Do they know the man they found guilty in May of 1987 is still fighting?

Atwood was unable to have his conviction overturned when he claimed that multiple law enforcement agencies conspired to frame him for the kidnapping and murder of my sister by planting the paint from Vicki’s bike on the bumper of his car. This claim was ludicriuos but all of his claims have been.

Since his conviction has been upheld, and his parents have passed, he has moved onto claiming he suffered from PTSD at the time he murdered Vicki Lynne and that all of his attorneys did not affectively represent him, in an attempt to save his own life.

We are fighting him to save his life… a twisted oxy moron.

In 29 years, I’ve grown, gotten married, had children and lead a happy, productive life in spite of what was taken away from me that September day. I’ve lived each day without Vicki Lynne here, and there isn’t one that goes by that I don’t wonder who she would have been today. Would she have gotten married and had two boys since I had two girls? Would she have been a teacher? A doctor? A veterinarian? Or traveled the world?

I know that Atwood has spent the years since September of 1984 exactly where he needs to be. He has been unable to hurt or harm any more children, and that it’s time for this to be done.

We will attend the hearing on Monday, and wait for the Honorable John Coughenour to make his ruling sometime in the month(s) following. We are very optimistic that we will be one step closer to the execution of Frank Atwood, a child murdering pedophile.

Justice for Vicki Lynne – Part 4

Vicki & I, 1979

Vicki & I, 1979

On Monday, November 4, 2013 at 2:00 p.m. in U.S. District Court in Phoenix, the Honorable John Coughenour has scheduled the continuation of the Evidentiary Hearing in this case.

On October 8th, a video deposition of Stanton Bloom, Atwood’s trial attorney, was entered into evidence. As previously stated, Mr. Bloom had a prior engagement out of town during these scheduled proceedings, a video deposition was ordered which Mr. Bloom gave prior to leaving town. We anticipated on this day we would watch approximately 30 minutes of this deposition. The judge stopped the playing of it after almost 10 minutes. He requested the defense make arrangements with Mr. Bloom to be in Phoenix for testimony on November 4th.

We will be back in court to hear the testimony from Mr. Bloom.

As I have been reflecting back to the three days we sat in court and listened to testimony, there are a couple things that I continue to think about.

During the testimony of the defense’s medical expert, she stated that when she did her evaluation of Atwood that she gave him the written documentation of her clinical diagnosis. He was able to read through this information prior to his examination by the doctor the State brought in to evaluate him for these proceedings. Why, given the critical need for the defense to prove PTSD at the time he murdered my sister, would the defense’s doctor provide him with materials of her evaluation in preparation for his next examination? I personally feel this jeopardizes the integrity of her diagnosis.

I am also anxious to hear from Mr. Bloom himself. There is conflicting information coming from him & Atwood, and once we hear Mr. Bloom’s testimony, we will be able to have a clearer understanding.

I personally find it hard to give any credit to anything this man has to say. At the time he murdered my sister, he was in the process of setting up a multi-state drug ring, he had preyed upon children from an early age and vowed the next one would not live to tell, after years of incarceration he still has tried to prey on children, he continues to demonstrate unstable behaviors, even threatening to kill “and hide the bodies like the others”. This is not a man with remorse or responsibility for anything he has done. He is still a danger to society.

We will never know how many children have been saved in the years that Atwood has lived on death row. And I know in my heart that justice is coming for Vicki, and it is coming very soon.

Remembering Vicki Lynne…

This last week our family and friends spent three days in U.S. District Court as we continue to fight for justice for Vicki Lynne. As I reflect back on last week, I am reminded how important it is to remember who we are fighting for. February 2, 2013, on what would have been her 37th birthday, I posted the following blog about my sister, Vicki Lynne. It was my hope to share my fondest memories about Vicki, and if you didn’t know her before her death that you know a little more about her now. Thank you for helping us Remember Vicki Lynne…

Ground Hog’s Day, jokingly known as “Hound Hog Day”, is also my sister, Vicki’s birthday.

This week at school our girl’s learned about Punxsutawney Phil and what it means if he will see his shadow or not. As we discussed the meaning of today, I shared with the girls that Ground Hog’s Day is also Aunt Vicki’s birthday. And how when she was small she couldn’t say her “G’s” very well so she would call it “Hound Hog’s Day”.

Madison & Mackenzie often ask me questions about Vicki. “Mom, Did Aunt Vicki like horses?” “Do you think she would like to ski?” “What was her favorite color?” “Did she draw well?”“Did she play with dolls?” “Could she run fast?”

These questions happen randomly and sometimes catch me off-guard. It makes me happy they are curious to know more about her, but it also has made me realize that sometimes we may talk more about what happened to Vicki than about her life.

Vicki's 8th Birthday Party

Vicki’s 8th Birthday Party

Vicki’s favorite color was pink and she loved Strawberry Shortcake.

She was a fierce competitor and would “scrap with the best of them” if you ask our elementary p.e. teacher, Coach Hall.

Vicki had a fire in her eyes that let you know she was serious, and a smile to go with her amazing blue eyes that would melt your heart.

She would light up a room when she walked in and entertained you.

Vicki did not liked to be teased about her freckles… aka… angel kisses.

Her nickname was “Oooggle Boogle”.

She wanted to learn to twirl a baton.

Vicki was proud of her younger brother, and giggled when we dressed him up in girls clothes and strolled him around the block..

She was proud to be a “Girl Scout Brownie”… we still have her uniform.

Vicki spent many Saturday nights cheering her Papas on at the race track, she was proud of him!

She loved tacos, but hated pizza.

Vicki was “Annie’s” double.

She loved her pink bike.

Vicki was a softball playing machine. And, she meant business on the field. This must have been a natural family talent.

She loved playing barbies and having sleepovers.

We loved it when our Aunt Kimmy made us spaghetto’s and french fries.

And, although I have many memories, one of my favorites is the times we spent out underneath the starry skies at the lake.

Today I hope that if you didn’t know her before she passed away, that you know a little more about her now.

Her life was short, but it was packed full of LIFE. And, I never want to lose sight of that or stop sharing our stories and memories of her.

Happy 37th Birthday Vicki… We love and miss you!

Justice for Vicki Lynne -Part 3

 

Vicki Lynne, 4

Vicki Lynne, 4

Today we returned to court to listen to the closing arguments in the Evidentiary Hearing in the case of the State of Arizona vs. Frank Atwood.

First and foremost, I want to point out that I feel a tremendous amount of respect for the State of Arizona, and the Attorney General’s Office. Lacey Gard, along with her team, did an outstanding job. I feel without a doubt, that they have poured an incredible amount of time and preparation in making sure there will be justice for Vicki. What I respected most about the closing arguments today was Mrs. Gards ability to stand in front of the judge and speak from what she confidentially knew. I always appreciate an argument that comes from the heart and not from a scripted speech, if only we all lived more from our heart…

The defense team has a enormous amount of responsibility to prove both ineffective counsel along with their claims that Frank Atwood suffered from PTSD at the time he murdered my sister. I do not feel that the defense had enough evidence to substantiate both claims. In closing arguments, the defense team was able to recite many cases that could have an effect on the outcome of this particular hearing, but were unable to present solid factual evidence to support their claims.

To clearly show ineffective counsel, they are second guessing strategic legal decisions that were made 29 years ago. As I look back and investigate the case, I feel that Stanton Bloom, trial attorney, was forward thinking and ahead of his peers in those days, he continued to build an impeccable career even after losing the Atwood case. I feel that the defense was also unable to clearly point out where Mrs. Ryan & Mr. (Dan) Davis (deceased), Frank Atwood’s first two appellate attorneys, were also ineffective in this case.

In the argument that he suffered from PTSD, no one can pin point “trauma” in any of his prior records. Even though PTSD may not have been a established medical diagnosis in the 1970s and into the early 1980s, if true trauma was being displayed by Atwood, the countless physicians, therapists, nurses or staff that interacted with Atwood during his stints in and out of treatment and jail would have still notated “trauma” somewhere. There is no record. It is said that the two medical experts who testified in this hearing on Monday read in access of 11,000 pages of documents to prepare for their testimony. The States expert spent more than double the time preparing for her testimony than the doctor the defense team presented. When the States doctor testified, the doctor that represented the defense could not argue any of the claims or diagnosis that the States doctor made. I feel if there was anything solid and compelling to support the claim of PTSD, the defense would have brought back to the stand their expert to rebut the testimony made by the states medical expert. One other significant point in the testimony is how Atwood, through the years bragged about his “ability to fool mental health professionals”. He is an extremely intelligent, manipulating, conniving, and disturbing person.

What I found most interesting as I reflect back on the last three days, is that Frank Atwood and his defense team, are blaming his parents for his actions.  The judge put a halt to the defenses line of questioning when it came to his parents, as they were not present to defend themselves, but the defense found other ways to try to state that it was their fault their son suffers from anti-social disorder, pedophilia and is a sociopath. I find it ironic that Atwood waitied until his parents were both deceased to bring up this part of his past. He continues to tarnish the reputation of his father, who was a wealthy, well respected man in his community, and a decorated brigadier general.

At the time of his arrest for the kidnapping and murder of my sister, Frank Atwood was in the process of setting up a multi-state drug ring. And, in letters which were submitted into evidence, Atwood clearly stated he was looking for another child, this time though, that child would not live to talk. A planned, thoughtful, premeditated process. He was in complete control of his actions then and now.

Over the course of the last three days people have filed in and out of the court room, many who I knew…some I didn’t. But I was approached at one point and the person privately shared with me that they had followed this case since the day that Vicki disappeared and have never forgotten her. That they needed to share with me that Frank Atwood still reminded them of Charles Manson and they only hoped that justice will prevail. Why do I share this? Because in the thousand plus emails, texts or conversations I have had in recent months, it was amazing that a total stranger would seek me out after so many years and bare such personal feelings.

Tonight, as I sit looking out onto the lights of the city that I grew up in, a million things are flashing through my mind but the most significant is that while the city has grown, so has it’s dedication in bringing justice to Vicki. Thank you for not forgetting Vicki Lynne…

Justice for Vicki Lynne – Part 2

Vicki Lynne, 4

Vicki Lynne, 4

Today was the second day in the Evidentiary Hearing in U.S. District Court before the Honorable John Coughenour.  The purpose of today’s testimony was for the defense to show that the attorney’s that represented Frank Atwood during his trial, sentencing and initial appellate phases of this case were all ineffective. The defense has a very difficult job in proving all his counsel was ineffective, as Mr. Bloom and Mrs. Ryan are both extremely respected attorney’s in their field, 1984 to the initial appellate phase of this case and now, these two attorney’s are regarding the best of the best. Both continue to practice law, with impeccable reputations.

The defense called Carla Ryan, counsel to Frank Atwood in the initial appellate phase; John Davis, the Prosecuting Attorney who successfully convicted Atwood of kidnapping and murder of Vicki Lynne in March of 1987; Frank Atwood, the defendant; Debbie Gaynes, Paralegal to Stanton Bloom who was Frank Atwood’s privately retained trial attorney; and finally Stanton Bloom via pre-recorded video deposition. Mr. Bloom was Frank Atwood’s private attorney who represented him from approximately August of 1985 through the sentencing phase of the case.  He is presently out of town with a prior engagement and was unable to attend the proceedings.

What I found most interesting about today’s testimony was that Frank Atwood’s team of attorney’s are attempting  to destroy the reputation of the people who represented Frank Atwood 29 years ago in effort to save him from the death penalty today. Again, there is NO disputing Frank Atwood’s guilt in this case. It has been proven and upheld.  (Please note, that Frank Atwood still maintains his innocence in this crime, however, there is a documented confession from him that was inadmissible in court in 1987. Since we are only focusing on his counsel’s lack of representation and his very disturbing criminal & mental history those are things that are not be discussed right now.)

Frank Atwood took the stand to maintain that he never refused any medical evaluation and that his attorney, Stanton Bloom, did not order any. He also testified to the fact that he wrote Judge Hawkins (presiding judge at the trail and sentencing phase, now deceased) a letter prior to his sentencing but he did not request that the judge seek a medical evaluation or take a further  look into his disturbing past. I realize that that was not necessarily Atwood’s responsibility as a defendant, but everyone was well aware of the fact that he was facing the death penalty, and quite frankly, if he felt that his attorney was not doing an adequate job to save him from the “chair” (method of execution in 1987) one would think he would have exercised his right to disclose that to the judge prior to the sentencing. Only because now it could save him from being executed is he concerned about it.

When Mrs. Gaynes took the stand, she could not remember anything. Pathetic, honestly. She is willing to participate with the defense that Mr. Bloom did not do an effective job, to save a child killing monster based on her defeat in losing the case. She testified to the fact that she saw the conviction as an ‘injustice’… honestly, I about threw up in my mouth.

I was 11 years old when my sister was kidnapped, raped and murdered by a habitual pedophile who is still seen as unfit to live among us even though he has been incarcerated for 29 years. What I remember most vividly as a young girl, was how infuriating Mr. Bloom made me.  I recognize, that as I listened to the people around us talk about the trial preparations one things rings clear in my mind and that was how extremely effective, efficient and thorough he was. Mr. Bloom did everything he could, had access to and beyond, in his representation of Frank Atwood from 1985-1987. That is without a doubt!!!!!

I have tried, on numerous attempts, to make eye contact with Frank Atwood, especially as he sat directly in front of me on the witness stand. He refused only looking to the ground or towards his attorney’s. He is a coward. A child raping,  murdering coward.

We will go back to court tomorrow am to hear the closing arguments in this hearing. They will take place at 10:00am.

When we left this mornings session, my husband and I were walking outside the courthouse when I saw a penny on the ground in front of me. When I picked it up I looked to see it was dated 1976… the year Vicki was born. Thank you Vicki… I needed that gift today!

Justice for Vicki Lynne – Part 1

Vicki Lynne 1984

Vicki Lynne 1984

Yesterday, we sat through the first of three possible days of hearings while we fight for Justice for Vicki… And although some of the information presented was somewhat disturbing at times, I truly feel that it was a good day for us.

In a nutshell, the defense needs to prove that Frank Atwood suffered for PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) at the time that he murdered my sister, Vicki Lynne. (Please note, we are not in court arguing his guilt in this crime, that has already been proven and upheld.)

A few points from yesterday:

1. I feel that the defense was clearly unable to make the argument of PTSD  based on the testimony given by both doctors that were called to give their professional opinions in this regard. There was no indication that Atwood suffered “trauma” in the “thousands” of pages of his mental health records or documents provided by the department of corrections, and even though PTSD may not have been an established diagnose in the 1970s, there would have been written documentation of “trauma” had Atwood truly suffered at that given point and time.

2. The defendant, on his own admission, has threatened people, including Correctional Officiers & their families, that he would kill them and “hide the bodies like the others”. He has not only been a target of violence in prison due to his numerous crimes against children, but he also continues to instigate it.

3. Although a diagnose of PTSD was not clearly made by the defense, it is the opinion that the defendant suffers from social anxiety disorders, pedophilia, is a psychopath. He continues, to display these behaviors today even in incarceration. It was also stated that Atwood is not fit to live in society.

4. The defense did NOT recall their expert witness after the State presented their medical testimony.

5. The defense continualy brought up the defendants own sexual abuse at age 14, however, there was also testimony to the fact that the defendant was under psychological care with his mother as early as 6 years of age. And, although it was not discussed in court, it has been said that at age 11, Atwood was sent off to military school after he attempted to kill his own mother. He has a long history of abuse and violence.

6. The defendant, in numerous written records, does admit to the fact that he never felt that he was “molested” and feels that “sexual acts between adults & children should be legal”.

7. That as late as 1995, Frank Atwood tried to “sponsor” a child from prison and had requested pictures of that child.

I feel that all of this information was very helpful in arguing the fact that Atwood was in full control of his actions when he was molesting children, and when he murdered my sister.

I will keep you updated here daily as we continue to attend the proceedings, but you can also follow live updates at www.kvoa.com as Kristi Tedesco & Samantha Ptashkin report from the court. We appreciate the outpour of love and support we continue to receive from our family, friends, and our community. Thank you all for not forgetting Vicki Lynne.

The Writ of Habeas Corpus

Vicki Lynne, Age2

Vicki Lynne, Age2

The days in recent weeks have been a blur of activity as we prepared to travel to Arizona  to attend an Evidentiary Hearing that will be held on Monday, October 7, 2013.  During this hearing, the defense will attempt to prove that there was ineffective counsel during the original sentencing and initial appellate phase AND that his supposed mental illness (PTSD – post traumatic stress disorder) was never entered into evidence – all in an effort to have his current sentence altered and the death sentence removed.

From September 1984 to now, we have battled Frank Atwood and the criminal justice system to bring justice for Vicki. He was sentenced to death in May of 1987, and since then this case has made its way to the U. S. Supreme Court, first on an automatic appeal, and again during the Post Conviction Release Appeal, both of which were denied. The Writ of Habeas Corpus, (the petition in which we are dealing with now) was filed in March of 1998. In this petition there were 43 claims, all which have been denied, except this last one, the reason for the Evidentiary Hearing on Monday.

When my sister was kidnapped and murdered 29 years ago, I would have never imagined that I would still be dealing with her murderer today. And, although I could have never truly imagined that our journey would have gone the way it has, I would have never thought that I would be packing my family and traveling to Arizona for one last hearing.

We will attend the proceedings to represent Vicki. To say that we feel an incredible amount of injustice at the length of time we have had to battle this would be an understatement, but we continue with our family, our friends and our community to seek justice for Vicki. And, it is close.

29 years after her death, Vicki Lynne’s killer gets a hearing | KVOA.com | Tucson, Arizona

Vicki Lynne Hoskinson, 4

29 years after her death, Vicki Lynne’s killer gets a hearing | KVOA.com | Tucson, Arizona.