A Letter to Governor Ducey from Stephanie Brandt

Following is the letter that I wrote to Arizona’s Governor Ducey on September 9, 2019.

As a family and community, we are asking the Governor directly to order the drug necessary to resume executions in the state, the authority and power lie within him.

Nothing will bring Vicki back. The absence of Atwood from this earth can close this chapter, end the continued victimization we receive by “him”, his wife, and paid supporters. It is TIME this nonsense stops.

35 years is too long to carry out punishment that the people handed down. Every minute, hour and day we wait for it to happen is just a mockery of the system & is a slap in the face of justice & my sister.

We won’t stop. If anyone thinks we will they have grossly underestimated the love & promise our family, friends and community have to see justice for Vicki.

Vicki & Stephanie

September 9, 2019

Honorable Governor Ducey

1700 West Washington Street 

Phoenix, AZ 85007

Dear Governor Ducey,

I was 11 years old when my life was taken from me by the choice of one person. The choices he made from the time he was a young person were all enabled by a broken system, people who weren’t invested in doing the right thing and an evil cycle pursued. 

The murder of my sister, Vicki Lynne Hoskinson, robbed any sense of a normal life, and continues to rob the same thing from my children. 

The choices the monster, Inmate # 062887, currently held in Florence State Penitentiary didn’t just start with the kidnapped, sexual assault and murder of my sister, I am confident you are well aware of his record and crimes he committed that lead up to September 17, 1984. 

As a clinically diagnosed psychopath, he believes he is above us & will stop at nothing to outthink us. Manipulate you and the system that he has controlled for almost 35 years. 

He made a choice to defy his parole in 1984. 

He made a choice to troll the neighborhood of a town in another state he didn’t belong in.

He made a choice to hit a little girl with his car riding her bike down a road in the neighborhood she lived in.

He made a choice to drive her approximately 20 miles from her home

He made a choice to sexually assault her, while she cried for her mommy.

He made a choice to stab her.

He made a choice to leave her in the dessert to die. 

Because he has a history of being irresponsible in his choices, he almost let her live. He dropped his keys and had to return to where he left her to find them. As she crawled through the desert, crying for help and begging for her life, he would have to fulfill a vow he wrote in a letter to a friend saying he would never let the next child “tell” and he lived up to that promise by murdering my sister. 

The last words she spoke, I know haunt him, because he doesn’t understand them. I promise to share the rest of that story the day he is no longer breathing on this earth because he doesn’t deserve the satisfaction of knowing why she spoke the words she did as she clung to her death. 

The terror she experienced in the time she was in his control and alive on this earth is unimaginable.

Vicki Lynne was a beautiful, witty, blue eyed little girl. She loved French Fries and Spaghetti-o’s, watching her grandfather race cars & playing softball, she wanted to twirl batons & beating the boys on the playground at tetherball. 

The day my sister was take, she didn’t have a choice. 

Now, the choice to carry out justice ultimately lies within you. My sister deserves justice. She deserved to live a beautiful life and be 43 years old today. 

She deserves someone who wants to fight for her today the way she fought for herself that day against a monster who still breathes now. 

So, I ask you, who do you fight for? Innocent children like my sister, Vicki, or do you fight for pedophiles who kill them?

What’s your choice Governor? Who do you protect? 

Respectfully,

Stephanie D. Hoskinson Brandt 

Cc: Mark Brnovich, Arizona Attorney General

Erin Duffy, Law Offices of Erin E Duffy P.L.L.C.

Dear Governor Ducey – A Letter from Vicki Lynne’s Parents

On July 29, 2019, my parents wrote the following letter to Arizona’s state Governor, Doug Ducey.

Today, and in the days that follow, we will share our letters with you as we fight for justice for Vicki. We urge you to join our fight, 35 years is to long to wait. Vicki deserves to have justice served, her family, friends and community deserve closure.

Dear Governor Doug Ducey,

We are the parents of Vicki Lynne Hoskinson, who was kidnapped & murdered on September 17, 1984 in Tucson, Arizona. 

The perpetrator that killed her was Frank Jarvis Atwood, inmate #062887, CR235942, CR235944. He was found guilty of her murder on March 26, 1987 and was given the death penalty on May 8, 1987. Almost 35 years later, he has sat on death row in this state for 32 years.

We are writing to you regarding his execution, or should we say, the failure of. We understand the issue of resolving the drug(s) used to execute an inmate has been resolved at the federal level. 

It is time to follow suit of our federal government and ask that you order the drug pentobarbital, or sodium thiopental so executions in our state may begin again. 

As Vicki Lynne’s family, we implore you to order the drug so that Attorney General Brnovich can ask the Arizona Supreme Court to issue an execution warrant for Atwood.

This is long overdue. Atwood has received many breaks in his appellate process to say the least.

Due to the delays in the executions in the state of Arizona, he is now trying to start a whole new Post Conviction Release appeal all over again in Pima County, CR014065, CR015397. 

This is absolutely ludicrous and the reason why the death penalty doesn’t work, the injustice of the appellate process keeps it from being a deterrent. 

What about Vicki’s life? She was our little girl, a precious, vibrant, full of life eight year old girl who had her whole life ahead of her, she was our daughter, her life matters. Her life did not deserve to be brutally cut short by this monster. Our family has been emotionally, physically and financially robbed by this violent crime. Not to mention all of the children, family, friends and our communities that continues to be affected. We are sure you cannot begin to imagine the hell we have lived, nor would you want to. 

Although Frank Atwood has been incarcerated all these years and unable to physically harm another child, it is time to allow our family to have peace & justice in the loss of our daughter.

We have come to a point of questioning where the rights of the victims come into the criminal justice system. We are proof  it does not!  Many things have occurred and been allowed over the years, far too many to go into, we are sure you are more than well aware. 

It is time to carry out justice for our daughter, and it is our intention, with the help of our family, friends & community to bring this issue to the attention of the people of Arizona and nation if we are forced to. 

It’s time to end the cost of the tax payers’ money in our state and execute this child killer. 

It is time we ask for your assistance to resolve this travesty of justice and order the drugs needed to execute! 

Justice has been delayed, justice shouldn’t be denied. 

Respectfully,

George and Debbie Carlson


loveneverforgets.com

cc:  Attorney General of Arizona, Mark Brnovich

       Personal File

Purpose.

Purpose

Noun 1. the reason for which something is done or created or for which something existsa person’s sense of resolve or determination

I have thought a lot about this word lately in trying to search for answers to questions no one will ever be able to answer for me. I honestly think it is our human nature to have answers, to know things, so we can fix them or at least understand them and when we don’t it leaves us searching…

Vicki Lynne 1984

The searching that started in September of 1984. The day my sissy rode her bike through our neighborhood to mail a birthday card to my aunt, to the days, weeks and months that followed that we searched desperately to bring her home. The day we laid her to rest. The day that the man responsible for taking her life was sentenced to death. And the weeks, months, years and decades we have been fighting him.

Who would have ever thought we would be here now? In May of 1987, when the sentencing was handed down and the process was started that has lead us to now, I bet, if you asked anyone then, they would never guessed we would still be battling legalities in court now…still waiting for answers, justice for a little girl without a voice.

Purpose. What is the bigger purpose?

Today we were notified that the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit will hold an Oral Argument in our case on June 7th at 9:00 am at the William K. Nakamura Courthouse in Seattle, Washington. The hearing will be in front of a panel of three judges, names who will be released when they take the bench. The hearing is slated for an hour, giving 30 minutes to each side to answer the questions the judges bring to court that day.

This hearing will be streamed live on the courts website, which you will be able to find the link to here under Audio & Video. http://www.ca9.uscourts.gov/calendar/

It is unclear how long the panel of judges will take to issue a ruling in this regard, and I feel as though this hearing is not only a win in our case, but it also gives us forward motion again. I remain faithful that the court will find in our favor, issue a ruling that will send our case on to the United States Supreme Court who have ruled in our favor twice previously. Once the US Supreme Court rules in our favor, a Writ of Execution can be issued. The end of the road for this case, justice for my sissy.

We may never know the bigger purpose, but it’s there. And we may never know the answers or why this has traveled the road it has, but the end is coming. And we will never know the lives one little girl impacted, but I know her spirit lives on in the hearts of so many and that gives me faith in the unknown purpose.

The Tree

It’s page 18 of 365 in 2016. One of my favorite quotes is by C.S. Lewis “There are far better things ahead than any we leave behind.” How true is that?

It’s been a busy 3 months since the last update to my blog, but really there has been no forward motion from the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in our case since September. Frustrating? Yep. I’ve learned that a 30 year old case with a guilty defendant and miles of boxes full of documents just seems to bog down a very broken system with nothing we can do but keep looking to the horizon…

To be honest, I’ve struggled to write this blog for more than a week. I’m not sure why, when it comes to writing or conversation, I’m not usually a loss for words… those who truly know me can insert your comments and laughs here…

Looking back on all that has happened, both wonderful & amazing and heartbreaking & trying, and I feel I’ve really needed to stop and listen more … Who has truly had “ahhhh haaa” moments? I’ve had quite a few lately…

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

See in February of 1985, we planted a tree in the courtyard of Homer Davis Elementary School where Vicki & I attended school to bring hope that she would be found alive. When Vicki’s remains were recovered in April of 1985, that tree continued to grow and bloom for 30 years. Last October (2015) it was uprooted and blown over in a storm… it was as if a piece of what we watched grow through our journey was gone and we were absolutely devastated. And, I feel we started to mourn again.

Our initial reaction was to replant a tree to replace it… and in time we realized we could never do that, it would never be the same. Honestly, I know with all my heart Vicki blew the tree over for a reason, and we may not be able to understand it right now, but in time, we will.

We were able to recover a substantial amount of the wood from the fallen tree and have plans as a family to have something made with it and rededicate it to Homer Davis at a later date. We will take the fallen pieces and make them beautiful again… just as we have done with our lives.

I want to make a very public thank you on behalf of myself and my family to Flowing Wells School District. From Dr. Baker, Mr. Miller, Governing Board, and the entire staff with a big SHOUT OUT to the Grounds Crew, each and every person has been so protective, caring and sensitive to us as we have moved through this process. The love that continues to shine in our community is extraordinary and comforting.

I will continue to keep my blog updated as we begin forward motion in the appellate part of this story, and as each day of 2016 unfolds, we will continue to look ahead and embrace our past as it is the seeds that continue to grow our future.

#dontforgetvickilynne #loveneverforgets

2nd Annual Vicki Lynne Memorial Scholarship

Vicki Lynne 1984

Vicki Lynne 1984

Last Thursday, May 7th, another scholarship at Flowing Wells High School in Tucson, AZ was given to a graduating senior in memory of my sister, Vicki Lynne Hoskinson.

It’s the second one we would give in her honor. Last years recipient, Anisa Jimenez, is such an amazing young woman, and I am so blessed that our families have grown very close over the last year. I have so much to share about her and will do so in a blog to come soon!

This year’s recipient was a young man. He is an aspiring engineer student and will attend the University of Arizona in the fall. His academic accomplishments, awards, leadership roles and community service spoke greatly about his drive and spirit. When my brother, Brian, saw that he played baseball it struck a sentimental place in his heart. My sister, Carie, loved his aspiration to become an engineer, it’s what my nephew would like to do do as well. So to say this candidate was chosen on his academic accomplishments alone would be untrue.

I called him the other day to ask permission to share about him on my blog. I was curious to talk to him, and honestly less than a minute into the conversation, it took a lot to hold back the tears. He started out by telling me that he and his sister went to Homer Davis Elementary, and that his mom taught 3rd grade there for a lot of years before going back into Special Education at another school within the Flowing Wells District. He said she had actually come to Homer Davis not long after Vicki had died. And, although, we have not made any requirements that a student attend FWSD from elementary school through high school to be awarded the scholarship in memory of Vicki, it blew me away that again this year we would unknowingly pick a recipient that had. He said that he had spoken to his mom about Vicki and shared his appreciation that we would believe in him to award him this scholarship in her memory.

My mom flew down to present the award to this years winner, Nathan Syers. We are honored to help such an amazing young individual again this year. We look forward to following you as you make your dreams come true!!

Here is a video of the presentation of the 2nd Annual Vicki Lynne Memorial Scholarship!

Thank you to all you who have helped our family this possible! I wish I could explain how deeply touched my heart is to honor Vicki in such a positive way and to help Nathan & Anisa make their dreams become their reality!

The last chapter…

An Opening Brief was filed by the defense in the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit yesterday. 

The original file date was June 12, 2014 delayed to November 21, 2014, delayed again to March 12, 2015 and finally filed on May 11, 2015.  

It took almost 11 months to produce 99 pages arguing technicalities and reasons why Frank Atwood should not be put to death. Imagine the money the tax payers have spent in 333 days just for this brief? 

I am so relieved to have some sort of forward motion again…  for my parents, for my siblings, for my children, for my family, our friends… for our community.

But, I have to be completely honest here… I am having a hard time wrapping my brain around the fact that people actually get paid to defend a monster like Atwood. I know this may sound silly, but I can not imagine the time and man power it took to put together 99 pages of this crap!

And now… how many hours it will take the State of Arizona to rebut this…

On September 17,1984, Atwood hit my sissy with his car while she was riding her bike home from her best friends house. He drove with her in his car to the desert not far from our home and I can not fathom the fear she experienced on that ride. He sexually assaulted her. And, he didn’t kill her the first time, I know Vicki’s last words still haunt and puzzle him today… He would eventually bury her in a shallow grave in the desert… 207 days later only parts of her precious little body were found… placed in a small box and given to my parents to lay to rest. 

And more than 30 years later we are fighting him on technicalities. Nothing will change the fact that he brutally murdered this little girl in 1984. And I am confident that this brief will be the start of the last chapter in this book that has had no ending or justice for this beautiful little girl. 

Vicki Lynne Hoskinson, 4

Don’t forget Vicki Lynne.

April 12th… 30 years later…

It’s hard to believe that time has gone by so quickly… 30 years is a long time, but this day is still as vivid in my mind as yesterday. My heart still aches the same it did that day… that pain will never go away.

I wrote the following a couple years ago and felt the need to re-share it again today. Thank you for those who continue to follow our case and support us as we fight for justice for my sissy.

Reflecting back on April 12, 1985

Today marks a significant anniversary in my life. It is a day that is forever etched in my mind, a day to reflect and a day to be thankful for.

On September 17, 1984, my 8 year old sister, Vicki Lynne Hoskinson, disappeared from our neighborhood. She had gone on her bike to mail a birthday card to our Aunt Lori for our mom. When she didn’t come home, I road my bike to find her. At that time, being 11, there was no doubt in my mind that she had stopped off at a neighbors or was playing with kids from the neighborhood and had lost track of time. We lived in a community and time when you left the house, played outside & people watched out for each other. Kids didn’t just disappear, and if they did it happened on T.V. and not on your street, let alone to your sister.

Vicki had been gone 6 months, 26 days…. or 207 days total. 

April 12, 1985 was a friday, and I was sitting in Mr. Abrams 6th grade core class. When the door opened and one of the ladies from the office walked in, I knew she was there for me.  Mr. Abrams paused, looking down and then up at me. He squeaked out the the words that I needed to gather my things and go to the office.

I sat in the yellow polyester cushioned chair against the windows that looked down the sidewalk and out into the parking lot. I was 11, and trying to understand the world that I had been thrusted into so many months before. There, in the office of the junior high school, everyone was quiet, and working just as hard at keeping it together as they were trying to act like they were working.

I can not tell you how long I sat in that chair in the window, but I knew when I looked over my left shoulder and saw my parents walking down the sidewalk it’s as if the world stopped.

They had found my sister….

Today, 28 years, 6 months and 26 days later, I can close my eyes and remember that day. The warmth of the Arizona sun through the window in the office, the look first on Mr. Abrams face, then on that of my parents, and the feeling of despair by those who surrounded me.

There are no words to express how incredibly grateful I am for the man who went looking for his dog that day and stumbled upon her remains, for at least we could have closure and lay her to rest.

If I had a penny for every time I thanked him, and those who gave so unconditionally those months we searched for her I would have enough money to buy the world.

Today, I miss Vicki just the same as I have in the 28 1/2 years it has been since she was taken from us. And I appreciate how incredibly blessed I have been in my journey between here and there…

**Our family has set up a Vicki Lynne Memorial Scholarship Fund at Flowing Wells High School where I graduated, and Vicki would have. If you would like to make a donation in her memory, you can do so by sending a check to:

Flowing Wells Unified School District

Attention: Monique Mata

1556 W. Prince Road

Tucson, AZ 85705

Flowing Wells Tax Id # 86-6003684

Please make sure you indicate that the donation is for the

VICKI LYNNE MEMORIAL SCHOLARSHIP

I am also doing a fundraiser, Be-YOU-tiful Lashes for Vicki!!!! 100% of my proceeds will be given in her memory to a graduating senior at Flowing Wells High School in May!! If you haven’t tried our famous 3D Fiber Lash Mascara or LOVE all natural skin care & beauty products you will LOVE Younique!!! Click the link to shop!!!

www.youniqueproducts.com/SBrandt/party/1716475/view

Apache Lake, AZ, Vicki & I

Apache Lake, AZ, Vicki & I

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…