Eva Deschamps / June 9, 2022
An American man, sentenced to death for the murder of a little girl nearly 40 years ago, was executed by lethal injection Wednesday in Arizona, which had once offered him the option of the gas chamber.
Frank Atwood, 66, was pronounced dead at 10:16 a.m. In Florence State Prison, the Arizona Department of Corrections said in a statement.
In 1984, he had kidnapped an 8 year old girl who was riding her bicycle in the city of Tucson. Her body was found seven months later in the desert.
Sentenced to death in 1987, he had then filed several unsuccessful appeals in court. His death was also delayed by the suspension in 2014 of executions in Arizona following the long agony of a condemned man taken of convulsions after having received the lethal substances.
The vast southern U.S. state finally resumed the practice last month when it executed Clarence Dixon, a Native American convicted of murdering a student 30 years earlier.
To overcome objections to the legality of lethal injections, Arizona now gives death row inmates the option of inhaling lethal gas.
Neither Clarence Dixon nor Frank Atwood has spoken out, which is tantamount to accepting lethal injection.
But the prospect of a revival of the gas chamber has shocked, especially since prison authorities are considering using hydrogen cyanide, the main component of Zyklon-B, a gas associated with the Holocaust.
Frank Atwood’s mother was Jewish and had fled Austria in 1939 to escape the Nazis, according to the convict’s lawyer, Joe Perkovich.
Seven executions have been carried out in the United States since the beginning of the year.