Delayed in the 9th Circuit… again…

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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…


  1. Michele K. English says

    Dear Stephanie and Family,
    Vicki will always have a special place in my heart. She truly had a way about her that made those around her smile. I am sorry for this next delay, because I know how difficult this is on your family. Please know that you all remain in my heart and prayers. With much love, Michele

  2. Your sister will never be forgotten. Not now, 30+ years after she was taken from you, and not 100 years from now. She has touched the lives of everyone who lived in Tucson at the time of her disappearance. I was close to her age; I distinctly remember watching the news every night, praying that this would be the day they had found her-alive-and had returned her to you. I am so sorry that it didn’t end that way.

    I also remember seeing his face on the evening news, and knowing that that was the face of a true monster. Our parents wouldn’t allow us to watch the trial, but I felt a little smug the day that they sentenced him to die. Like justice had been served. Only it never has been. I was in grade school then, and now I am about to turn 40. Next month, Vicki would have turned 40, too. And yet he is still breathing.

    You know all this. I didn’t come here to drudge it up for you. I don’t ever want to add to your heartache by doing that. I just wanted you to know that your sister changed my world. That her smile made me want to make this world a better place. Her story made me want to join the law enforcement field in some capacity. Seeing his face made me want to advocate for the death penalty.

    Today, I work for the county attorney’s office. I have a beautiful daughter…named Vicki. My contribution to law enforcement is a tiny one; insignificant. But I have been here for nearly 12 years. And I will continue to be here, doing a small part of the herculean effort that it takes to keep dangerous and violent people off the streets. It’s a struggle…they have so many rights, even after conviction. It’s frustrating at times. I can only image the heartache and frustration that it has brought you. Please don’t give up.

    You and your family are in my prayers. I am so glad that Vicki got to come to this Earth and become a part of you forever. Share her love and her smile with you. Her short life inspired many, and was not in vain.

    Your sister’s birthday is February 2nd; mine is March 3rd. I always think about her around this time of year, as her birthday approaches. Just from her photos I can see what a beautiful spirit she has and how full of life she was.


    I live on the UK and can not understand how this vile evil man is still alive. Why have a death sentence when it is obvious some judges do not seem to agree! This Atwood man should have been dust years ago.
    RIP Vicki.