A man convicted of murdering an eight-year-old girl in 1984 has been executed in Arizona.
Frank Atwood, 66, had been convicted for the killing of Vicki Lynne Hoskinson, a girl whose body was found in the desert.
Atwood died by lethal injection at the state prison in Florence, after a final appeal for a stay in the execution by his lawyers had been rejected by the Supreme Court.
Vicki went missing after she left her home in Tucson to drop a birthday card in a nearby mailbox. Her body was found seven months later.
The girl’s mother, Debbie Carlson, was a witness to the execution.
She said: “Vicki was a vibrant little girl with an infectious laugh and a smile that would melt your heart.
“Her royal blue eyes reflected an old soul of wisdom, and her freckled nose was unique and we are blessed to see it in our grandchildren today.
“Vicki was a feisty little one that always kept you on your toes and will forever be known as Dennis the menace, giggling all the way”.
Atwood was convicted in 1975 for lewd and lascivious conduct with a child under 14 in California. He was found guilty of Vicki’s murder in 1987.
He maintained that he was innocent of Vicky’s murder.
Atwood was the second Arizona prisoner to be put to death in less than a month. The state resumed carrying out the death penalty in May after a pause of nearly eight years due to difficulty in obtaining lethal injection drugs.
Another death row inmate, Clarence Dixon, was put to death last month in an execution that some experts said was botched.
It took officials about 30 minutes to insert an IV into Dixon’s body to deliver the lethal drug and 10 minutes after that for him to die.
Death penalty opponents worry that Arizona will now start executing a steady stream of prisoners who have languished on death row.