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  1. #1

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    Frank Jarvis Atwood - Arizona Death Row



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    Facts of the Crime:

    Atwood had been convicted of lewd and lascivious acts and kidnapping an eight-year-old boy in California. In May 1984, he was paroled from the kidnapping sentence. Atwood came to Tucson in September 1984 in violation of his California parole. On September 17, eight-year-old Vicky Lynn Hoskinson was riding her bicycle home from mailing a letter. Atwood kidnapped the girl and killed her. He left her body in the desert and fled to Texas, where he was apprehended. Vicky's body was not found until April 1985.

    Atwood was sentenced to death on May 8, 1987.

  2. #2
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    Justice Delayed: Convicted murderer still on death row, 25 years later

    Twenty-five years ago this month, Frank Jarvis Atwood was sentenced to die for killing 8-year-old Vicki Lynn Hoskinson.

    She was kidnapped while riding her bicycle in her Flowing Wells neighborhood in 1984. Her remains were later found in the desert on the northwest side.

    It's a case that shook Tucson, much like the one involving 6 year old Isabel Celis. It led to the formation of the victim's rights group "We The People".

    Bumper stickers saying "Don't Forget Vicki Lynn" were everywhere.

    People still haven't forgotten her, and her loved ones are still waiting for her killer to be executed.
    Frank Jarvis Atwood has denied killing Vicki Lynn. A jury of his peers didn't buy that, and neither has her family.

    Atwood, on death row for a quarter of a century, says he's found God. He spoke to News 4's Lupita Murillo via telephone.

    "Being stabbed a couple of times and everything in the last couple of years, would probably tend to provide some external visible examples that my desire to obey Christ and everything is legitimate," he said.

    He's now married, earned four college degrees and a masters in literature and he's written and published five books.

    Debbie Carlson, Vicki Lynn's mother, she said: "Twenty-five years is a long time, I would have loved to have had 25 more years with Vicki."

    Retired Superior Court judge John Davis prosecuted the case.

    "I remember when I married Stephanie, her older sister, Vicki Lynn should have been in that wedding," he said. "When her brother got married, Vicki Lynn should have been in that wedding."

    The family honors Vickie Lynn's memory by having an empty chair at all the happy events. Carlson said: "It's what you make of it, we just chose not to let Frank Atwood destroy our life."

    Bureau Chief Rick Kastigar, a deputy in 1984 helped search for Vickie Lynn, told News 4 Tucson: "I just hope at some future point that his case is finalized and that the family has piece of mind and heart at the loss of their daughter."

    Atwood says he has two more appeals.

    "There's been a development of evidence that indicates that the alleged paint on the bumper that they showed during the trial was simply not on the bumper when I was arrested," he said.

    Carlson said: "He can say whatever he wants, but don't insult the intelligence of those 12 jurors, don't insult the United States Supreme Court for upholding his sentence already once."

    Carlson is convinced there will be justice for Vickie Lynn.

    http://www.kvoa.com/news/justice-del...5-years-later/
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    After 25 years, Vicki's mother is fed up with murder appeals

    When she first heard Frank Jarvis Atwood was claiming authorities framed him for the murder of her 8-year-old daughter, Vicki Lynne Hoskinson, Debbie Carlson's reaction was, "Oh, give me a break."

    At that point, Atwood had already been on death row for two decades.

    Now five years later, Atwood is about to get the court date he has been seeking. A federal judge will hear arguments Monday for and against a hearing on "newly discovered evidence" Atwood's attorney says will prove his claims of evidence tampering.

    No matter which way the judge rules, another appeal will be filed. And another one. And another one.

    "I'm pretty disgusted by the fact he's still on death row," Carlson said. "It's so sad it takes so long to execute someone when they commit a crime in the blink of an eye."

    25 years on death row

    Twenty-five years ago last month, Atwood, now 56, was sentenced to die.

    So much time has passed since then that Carlson regularly encounters people who assume Atwood was executed years ago.

    Of the 126 people currently on death row, only six have been there longer than Atwood. One, Samuel Lopez, arrived on death row six weeks after Atwood and is schedule to die later this month.

    "I would have loved to have had 25 more years with Vicki," Carlson said. "In that time, Atwood's gotten a college education, written several books, gotten married and gotten all of the medical and dental care he's needed and we've paid for that."

    In a recent 18-minute phone interview, Atwood said he believes the new evidence "undisputedly" proves his innocence. But he's not confident he will be granted the hearing to present it.

    The fact the state has executed eight people in the last 19 months and is getting ready to execute another weighs heavily on his mind.

    When he arrived on death row back in 1987, dying "seemed like kind of an unreal proposition. So I mean it certainly lends a little bit more reality to the situation and maybe a little bit more urgency to the appeals process and what not," Atwood said.

    Little girl missing

    On Sept. 17, 1984, Vicki got home from Homer Davis Elementary School and asked her mom if she could ride her bike to the mailbox to send a birthday card.

    She never came home.

    Her 11-year-old sister Stephanie found Vicki's pink bike abandoned a few blocks away from her Flowing Wells neighborhood and one block west of the elementary school.

    A frantic search ensued. Vicki's family took every opportunity to speak to the media to plead for help. Fliers were handed out.

    Pretty soon, sheriff's deputies learned several witnesses had seen a man in a dark-colored Datsun 280Z near Vicki's school. One little girl said the man had made an obscene gesture at her as he cruised by her house. Another saw the driver of the car back into a telephone pole and a teacher wrote down the car's license plate. He described getting goose bumps because the driver was making strange gestures, acting upset and having trouble shifting gears.

    Other witnesses who observed the car a short time later said they saw a small child in the car.

    When deputies traced the plates, they learned the car was registered to Atwood, who was on parole in California for forcing an 8-year-old boy off a bicycle, pulling him onto his motorcycle and forcing him to perform a sex act.

    When Atwood's parents were called three days later, they told FBI agents Atwood was getting his transmission fixed in Kerrville, Texas.

    Atwood was arrested on suspicion of kidnapping after authorities said paint from Vicki's bike was found on his bumper and damage to his gravel pan was caused by one of Vicki's pedals. In addition, friends of Atwood's told authorities they saw him with bloody hands and cactus needles on his clothes that afternoon. Atwood had told them he'd stabbed a man in a drug dispute at the west end of Ina Road.

    In the ensuing months, Vicki's family continued to plead for help finding her. Carlson appeared on Good Morning America and World News Tonight. The family planted an Arbor Tree for Vicki and buried a time capsule at her school and invited the media to both events.

    Everyone in Tucson got to know the little girl with the infectious grin. Carlson, now 57, describes Vicki as a female Dennis the Menace because of her ability to get dirty within seconds. She loved Barbies and softball and hanging out with her grandfather at the race track.

    "Her eyes were of a deep blue, they were almost a royal color. There was such depth to them you couldn't reach the bottom," Carlson said. "She was an old soul. She had deep wisdom beyond her years."

    Murder charges added

    On April 12, 1985, seven months after she disappeared, Vicki's skeletal remains were found at the west end of Ina Road. Because of the condition of her body, the medical examiner was unable to determine when or how the little girl died, or if she had been sexually abused.

    Atwood was soon facing a first-degree murder charge in addition to kidnapping.

    Pima County Attorney Barbara LaWall remembers what those months were like when Vicki was missing.

    "There was an extremely heightened fear … it permeated everything," LaWall said. "It was the first time a child had gone missing like that and we knew what had happened - we knew someone had taken her off her bike.

    "People didn't allow their children to play outside anymore. Parents' behavior changed. Before then, we were in a state of unawareness about the dangers that are lurking out there."

    Stanton Bloom represented Atwood at his trial, which was moved to Phoenix because of pretrial publicity. It was televised live from start to finish.

    "There was a lot of animosity in the community," Bloom said. "I got a lot of death threats and bomb calls. People wrote letters and I had hang up calls."

    Larry Hammond, Atwood's current attorney, said people hated Atwood so much they set fire to a house where they wrongly believed he had lived.

    Survivors remember

    Besides making parents more cautious, Vicki's disappearance and murder wrought other changes, too.

    Carlson spent the next decade as an activist. She helped form a victims' advocacy group called "We the People." She testified about the tragedy before state and federal lawmakers. She got involved with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children and was instrumental in getting Arizona's Victims' Bill of Rights passed in 1990.

    Three years before the law passed, Carlson and other family members had to sit outside the courtroom while prosecutors presented their case against Atwood. They were excluded from attending the trial because they were witnesses. Thanks to the Bill of Rights, victims are now guaranteed a seat in all proceedings and have the right to speak at bail-setting hearings, change-of-plea hearings and sentencings.

    Carlson also helped launch Southern Arizona's Amber Alert system in 2000.

    Life can still be somewhat of a roller coaster of emotions for Carlson.

    "Some days, some anniversaries, I just skate on through and other days I'm blindsided and there are just so many anniversaries," Carlson said.

    There's Vicki's birthday, the day she disappeared, the day she was found, plus all of the significant court events.

    Still, Carlson wants people to see their story as one of inspiration.

    Her daughter, Stephanie, and son, Brian, and stepdaughter, Carie, have become successful adults.

    "I made a vow that Atwood was not going to destroy our lives and we've succeeded," Carlson said. "I'd like people to realize as they read this story … that no matter what happens to them in life, they can survive, there is hope. It's not been easy, but we made it and they can, too."

    Carlson said she likely won't attend Atwood's eventual execution because she doesn't want to give him any more power.

    "Frank Atwood doesn't hold me in bondage. He will get his and he'll answer for everything he's done."

    Evidence questioned

    On Monday, Hammond will appear before U.S. District Judge John C. Coughenour to tell him what he thinks he'd be able to prove if given the chance at an evidentiary hearing.

    Hammond will show photos he believes prove law enforcement officials removed Atwood's bumper in Texas, brought it to Tucson, applied pink paint from Vicki's bike to it and flew it back to Texas within days of Atwood's arrest.

    Hammond has experts who believe original photos of the bumper taken in Texas, along with their negatives, were destroyed and the photos were replaced with new ones taken after the paint was applied. Moreover his experts say photos of the bumper that have surfaced in recent years show Vicki's bike in the reflection - when all official accounts say the bumper and the bike were in separate states.

    The defense attorney also says newly discovered photos show damage to Atwood's bumper wasn't there when the car was first photographed.

    Kent Cattani, chief counsel for the Arizona Attorney General's Office's capital litigation division, doesn't believe Atwood is entitled to an evidentiary hearing.

    In court documents Cattani said numerous law enforcement officers from multiple agencies would have had to collectively decide to risk their careers to manufacture evidence. For all they knew, Vicki could've been alive and able to identify her kidnapper, he said. Or, they could have found her body at any moment and had all the forensic evidence they needed to track her killer.

    The photographs don't show a bike in the bumper's reflection, nor do they show the source of the pink reflection described by Hammond, Cattani said.

    The fact that some negatives were discovered missing 26 years after Vicki died, Cattani said, "does not establish that law enforcement officers tampered with evidence, planted pink paint on Atwood's bumper, 'swapped' photographs or presented false testimony."

    In a recent interview Hammond said the police didn't set out to frame an innocent person; they believed they had the right guy. People have a tendency to think they know what happened and they operate under that assumption, he said.

    "Once we've decided something, it's easy to find things that fit and easy to disregard things that don't fit," Hammond said.

    Bloom, Atwood's trial attorney, said without the bumper evidence he believes the state would've had a hard time convicting Atwood. They didn't find Vicki's blood, fingerprints or hair inside the car.

    In his telephone interview, Atwood says the friends who testified against him had motive to lie and other witnesses weren't credible. And while he did tell people he stabbed a drug dealer the day Vicki disappeared, Atwood said he did that "to try to impress others and pump up my tough guy image."

    Atwood's future

    Since his arrival on death row, Atwood has gotten married, been baptized in the Greek Orthodox Christian church, obtained two associate's degrees, a bachelor's degree in English/pre-law and a master's degree in literature. He has written six books, five of which have been published. He's also working with people on the outside to create a website.

    "I had full and complete confidence upon my arrival on death row that once a court, you know, without the public hysteria and the emotional value of a jury trial and everything else, you know, maybe in the cold light of day would be able to review my case and see there just wasn't the evidence that would've had to have been there," Atwood said.

    Should he lose his future appeals, Atwood said he is prepared to die.

    "I think a part of being completely obedient to God's will is accepting whatever it is he has in store or planned for me," Atwood said. "You know we all have to die sometime and I'm sure a lot of us don't necessarily want to go … but I'm just grateful the Lord's given me the opportunity to have tried to learn a little bit of patience and humility to accept what his will is for me and has provided me that time prior to being executed."

    Editor's note: While many members of the community remember "Vicki Lynne," the family's preference is "Vicki."

    "I would have loved to have had 25 more years with Vicki. In that time, Atwood's gotten a college education, written several books, gotten married and gotten all of the medical and dental care he's needed and we've paid for that."

    - Deborah Carlson, mother of Vicki Lynne Hoskinson

    Timeline

    Feb, 3, 1975 - Frank Jarvis Atwood is convicted of lewd and lascivious behavior in Los Angeles Superior Court.

    July 20, 1981 - Atwood pleads guilty to kidnapping an 8-year-old boy and is sentenced to five years in prison.

    May 16, 1984 - Atwood is paroled.

    Sept. 13, 1984 - Atwood leaves California for Tucson.

    Sept. 17, 1984 - Vicki Lynne Hoskinson disappears after leaving home on bicycle to mail a birthday card.

    Sept. 20, 1984 - Atwood is arrested in Kerrville, Texas.

    April 12, 1985 - Vicki's skeletal remains are found.

    May 15, 1985 - Atwood indicted on first-degree murder charge.

    Feb. 19, 1986 - Atwood charged with trying to stab and bite a jail guard. Case later dismissed.

    May 8, 1987 - Atwood sentenced to death.

    April 9, 1992 - Arizona Supreme Court upholds Atwood's conviction and sentence.

    Jan. 19, 1993 - U.S. Supreme Court refuses to hear Atwood's appeal.

    June 2005/May 2007 - A U.S. District Court judge denies all but one of Atwood's claims seeking a new trial. He tells attorneys to take allegations about alleged evidence tampering to Pima County Superior Court.

    Dec. 17, 2007 - Atwood's attorneys file a motion in Pima County Superior Court seeking a hearing on alleged evidence tampering.

    Jan. 2, 2009 - Pima County Superior Court Judge Hector Campoy denies motion seeking hearing. Motion to reconsider is denied month later.

    April 26, 2010 - Second motion to reconsider filed following a further investigation.

    Sept. 22, 2010 - Judge Campoy again denies motion seeking hearing on alleged evidence tampering. The Arizona Supreme Court declines to review the decision.

    March 20, 2012 - U.S. District Court Judge John C. Coughenour agrees to hold hearing June 11, 2012, to decide if an evidentiary hearing is warranted.

    http://azstarnet.com/news/local/crim...482da6e52.html
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    You say in your post, quoted from azstarnet.com, that 'of the 126 people on (Arizona) death row, only six have been there longer than (Mr.) Atwood.' This is incorrect, as JLR's post of 'Arizona old timers list' on this forum, demonstrates.

    This post states that Frank Atwood arrived on Arizona's death row on 8 May 1987, and shows ten inmates with sentencing dates before that of Mr. Atwood's (one of which has been reversed,as noted by the italics in the relevant line), not six as the source you quoted from states. Read in the 'Arizona capital punishment news' thread in this forum to find JLR's post on Arizona death row 'old-timers'.

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    No new hearing for convicted killer

    A federal judge in Tucson has denied a motion to grant a hearing for a convicted child killer.

    Attorneys for Frank Jarvis Atwood wanted to argue that police detectives allegedly planted evidence that landed their client on Arizona’s death row.


    The 56-year-old Atwood was sentenced to die in May 1987 for the 1984 kidnapping and killing of 8-year-old Vicki Lynne Hoskinson.

    During Atwood’s trial, jurors heard testimony that pink paint on the front bumper of his car matched that on the girl’s bicycle.

    Prosecutors claim Atwood knocked the girl down in the course of her kidnapping.

    Defense lawyers have repeatedly argued that police transferred the paint to the bike, manufactured the accident reconstruction and destroyed evidence.

    The Arizona Daily Star in Tucson says a U.S. District judge rejected the claim, calling it “unbridled speculation.”

    http://www.trivalleycentral.com/casa...9bb2963f4.html
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    Victim's sister irate over Atwood lawsuit

    In case you haven't heard, Frank Jarvis Atwood, one of Arizona's longest residents on death row, is suing the state because he's not getting to visit his priest as often as he would like.

    Here's what his victim's sister, Stephanie, has to say about that:

    "A true person of faith needs not a priest to pray, a church to do it in or any special privileges. We are all entitled to our words with God anytime we want. It is disgusting to me that this is actually happening and that there is an attorney that would help him file this suit. It is a humble reminder that our justice system and tax dollars can be continually taken advantage of by people like Frank Atwood. It was my understanding that when you were convicted of a crime that you lost civil rights, and it baffles me that he has not only the right to sue, but also get married, publish books and get a college education WHILE ON DEATH ROW. I find it hard to believe that he is more focused on this frivolous lawsuit than praying for forgiveness from God for the precious life he took, and those he hurt before he murdered my sister."

    For the record, Atwood filed the lawsuit by himself.

    A lot of people have asked why Atwood remains on death row. His attorneys are still filing appeals on his behalf.

    http://azstarnet.com/news/blogs/cour...a4bcf887a.html
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    Atwood's attorneys want a new sentencing hearing

    A California man on death row nearly 26 years for kidnapping and murdering 8-year-old Vicki Lynne Hoskinson will be back in court today.

    Frank Jarvis Atwood's attorneys will try to persuade a U.S. district judge to reconsider a 2005 decision that prevented them from arguing Atwood's original defense attorney was inadequate during his sentencing hearing.

    Atwood's attorneys believe a 2012 U.S. Supreme Court decision could open the door to a new sentencing hearing where they could present previously unheard mitigating evidence they think could save Atwood's life.

    Assistant Arizona Attorney General Lacey Stover Gard intends to argue the 2012 decision does not apply to the Atwood case, and the judge who sentenced Atwood knew most of the mitigating evidence when he placed him on death row.

    Vicki disappeared from her Flowing Wells neighborhood on Sept. 17, 1984, while on her way to a mailbox to send a birthday card. Her 11-year-old sister found her pink bike a few blocks from her home and school.

    Sheriff's deputies learned several witnesses had seen a man acting oddly in a dark-colored Datsun 280Z near Vicki's school. Other witnesses who observed the car a short time later said they saw a small child inside.

    When deputies traced the plates, they learned it was registered to Atwood, who was on parole in California for forcing an 8-year-old boy off a bicycle, pulling him onto his motorcycle and forcing him to perform a sex act.

    Atwood was later arrested in Texas. Authorities said they found paint from Vicki's bike on his bumper and damage caused by one of Vicki's pedals.

    In addition, friends of Atwood's told authorities they saw him with bloody hands and cactus needles on his clothes that afternoon. Atwood told them he'd stabbed a man in a drug dispute at the west end of Ina Road.

    Vicki's skeletal remains were found at the west end of Ina Road on April 12, 1985, seven months after she disappeared.

    Atwood was convicted and sentenced to die in May 1987.

    According to court documents, Atwood's attorneys, Larry Hammond, Paula Harms and Golnoosh Farzaneh, believe Atwood's trial attorney, Stanton Bloom, failed to conduct an adequate investigation into Atwood's background after his conviction. Jurors did not hear evidence from mental-health experts, nor did they hear from a mitigation specialist.

    If they had, the attorneys said, jurors would have learned Atwood began seeing a therapist at 11, his mother physically abused him and his family has a history of psychological issues.

    They said jurors would also have heard Atwood was sexually assaulted on four occasions between the ages of 14 and 19.

    All of the attacks, plus the abuse at the hands of his mother, led to substance-abuse issues and periods of psychosis, the defense attorneys contend.

    The attorneys would like permission to put a forensic psychiatrist on the stand who would testify about how Atwood's experiences led to him developing post-traumatic stress syndrome.

    "In a case that aroused such passion and prejudice in the community, a strong mitigating case was Atwood's only hope for a life sentence," the attorneys wrote in a recent motion.

    In response, Gard contends the Supreme Court decision doesn't apply to the Atwood case and defense attorneys should not be given the opportunity to present the mitigating evidence.

    Bloom made a strategic decision not to present certain mitigating evidence, she argues.

    Had Bloom presented mental-health evidence, jurors would have learned about a letter Atwood wrote in which he said sex between adults and children should be legal, suggesting "he was not at all traumatized by the molestation," Gard wrote.

    If evidence of PTSD had been introduced during Atwood's trial, the original prosecutor, John Davis, would have put on witnesses saying Atwood bragged about his actions and threatened to do some more "sick (expletive)" once he was acquitted, Gard wrote.

    In one instance, Atwood told a fellow inmate he would never go back to prison again because of a witness, Gard wrote.

    http://azstarnet.com/news/local/crim...f0cc280bc.html
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    High court case delays an Atwood resentence

    A decision on whether a 2012 U.S. Supreme Court decision created a possibility for longtime death-row inmate Frank Jarvis Atwood to get a new sentencing hearing has been delayed by yet another Supreme Court case.

    Atwood was convicted of kidnapping and murdering 8-year-old Vicki Lynne Hoskinson. He was sentenced to die in May 1987.

    On Thursday, his attorneys tried to persuade U.S. District Judge John C. Coughenour to reconsider a 2005 decision that prevented them from arguing that Atwood's original attorney was ineffective during his sentencing hearing.

    Attorney Paula Harms argued that the Supreme Court's decision in Martinez v. Ryan significantly changed the law about ineffective-assistance claims and the decision applies in this case.

    If the judge finds that the case applies and that Atwood's claim has merit, Atwood could get a new sentencing hearing at which his attorneys plan to present previously unheard evidence about Atwood's mental illness and sexual abuse during adolescence.

    Assistant Arizona Attorney General Lacey Gard argued the 2012 decision does not apply, and the judge who sentenced Atwood knew most of the mitigating evidence when he sentenced him to death.

    Coughenour declined to rule on the Martinez question until the Supreme Court decides another case, Trevino v. Thaler, which deals with procedures surrounding ineffective-assistance claims.

    The oral arguments for the case already have been held.

    http://azstarnet.com/news/local/crim...3468e885e.html
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    Vicki Lynne's killer in court for day two of federal hearing

    By Samantha Ptashkin

    TUCSON- A busy day in court, as convicted murderer and death row inmate Frank Jarvis Atwood marks day two of his federal hearing.

    Atwood was sentenced to die in 1987 for the murder of eight-year-old Vicki Lynne Hoskinson.

    Now Atwood is trying to get a re-sentence, a chance at life in prison, instead of lethal injection.

    The hearing got underway at 9am with testimony from three defense witnesses Carla Ryan, Atwood's appellate attorney, John Davis, the prosecutor in Atwood's trial, and Deborah Gaynes, who worked as a paralegal for Atwood's trial attorney, Stanton Bloom.

    The defense is trying to prove Atwood deserves a new sentence on the grounds that he was represented poorly in his trial because his legal team didn't bring up his past mental health problems.

    Atwood also took the stand, dressed in his orange prison jumpsuit, with his graying black hair tied back in a ponytail. He answered questions about discussions he had with Bloom prior to the trial. He says he asked Bloom to investigate his mental health history and never said he wouldn't take a mental health evaluation.

    The court also watched about 15 minutes of a video deposition from Bloom, since he couldn't make the hearing. After listening to Atwood's current lawyer, Larry Hammond, ask Bloom a series of questions about how he prepared for the trial, the judge decided he would like to hear Bloom testify in person. The judge is hoping to do that in Phoenix on November 4.

    The judge will hear arguments on both sides starting Wednesday at 10am. The judge won't be making a final decision on whether or not Atwood deserves a re-sentencing until after hearing Bloom's in person testimony.

    http://www.kvoa.com/news/vicki-lynne...ral-hearing/#_

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