Death row inmate refused to eat final meal before being executed for killing girl

A death row inmate convicted of killing a young girl nearly 40 years ago has been executed in Arizona.

Frank Atwood, 66, was found guilty of murdering eight-year-old Vicki Lynne Hoskinson, whose body was found in the desert northwest of Tucson nearly seven months after she went missing in 1984.

He died by lethal injection at the state prison in Florence shortly after 10.15am local time on Wednesday.

Atwood had spent almost 35 years on death row and had exhausted all of his appeals.

Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich said in a statement: ‘To an innocent child whose life was brutally taken and a family that has had to endure decades of suffering, Arizonans will never forget.’

Atwood was the second Arizona prisoner to be put to death in less than a month.

The execution of Clarence Dixon in May ended the state’s moratorium that was blamed on the difficulty of obtaining lethal injection drugs and criticism that a 2014 killing was botched.

Death penalty opponents now worry that Arizona will ‘open the flood gates’ and start executing a steady stream of prisoners who have languished on death row.