Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Florida Inmate Facing Imminent Execution Despite Evidence of Witness Tampering by Prosecution

By Corrinne Farrell
Nov 11, 2008, 17:18

Florida Inmate Facing Imminent Execution Despite Evidence of Witness Tampering by Prosecution

Dissent in Florida Supreme Court Would Grant Wayne Tompkins Hearing after "Bombshell Disclosure" by Jailhouse Informant

Washington, D.C. –Florida may execute Wayne Tompkins soon despite new revelations that the state prompted a trial witness to lie. Tompkins was to be executed in Florida on October 28, 2008, but was granted a stay of execution to allow time for the state Supreme Court to review his case. On November 7, the court denied Tompkins' appeal, even though the court acknowledged that a state witness admitted to providing false testimony at Tompkins' original trial in 1985. Justice Harry Anstead dissented from the court's ruling and underscored the gravity of the new information: If a trial witness was fed information by the prosecution, it "could change the jury's entire evaluation of the case," he wrote.

Tompkins was convicted of murdering his girlfriend's daughter, Lisa DeCarr, and burying her under a house in Tampa in 1983. He has always maintained his innocence. One of the key witnesses who testified against Tompkins was an inmate who shared a jail cell with him while Tompkins was awaiting trial. That inmate, Kenneth Turco, recently admitted that the prosecutor prompted him to give false testimony about the victim's purse during the trial. Turco claims that the rest of his testimony, in which he recounted an alleged confession by Tompkins, was true.

Justice Anstead would have granted Tompkins an evidentiary hearing regarding what he called "flagrant misconduct" by the state. He said that the prosecutor's actions, if true, amounted to tampering with a witness. "Imagine here a jury already concerned with the credibility of a jailhouse snitch now being told that a critical part of his testimony was fabricated by the state's prosecutor," he wrote. "Surely, common sense would tell us this is the kind of 'bombshell' disclosure that could change the jury's entire evaluation of the case." (Tompkins v. Florida, Nos. SC 08-992, -1979, -2000, Nov. 7, 2008) (Anstead, J., dissenting in part).

Tompkins' stay of execution expires on Nov. 18. For further information about Tompkins' case, contact his attorney, Martin McClain, 305-984-8344, email: martymcclain@earthlink.net.

For other death penalty information, contact DPIC's Executive Director, Richard Dieter, 202-289-2275, email: rdieter@deathpenaltyinfo.org.



Anonymous said...

Happens a lot down in Florida. Especially in Polk County. A lawyer once told us in reference to perjury, "The truth is only what the jury believes". Funny how the prosecutors think a jailhouse informant is credible when their information is needed, but the same informant becomes not credible when their information would make the state look bad. There is no justice in this world. I should know. My husband is Leslie Todd Jones. I started writing my story a few months ago. In the form of a BLOG entitled A Murder in Polk County. I intend to tell the world just how corrupt law enforcement in the state of Florida can be. Not just cops, but SAO's and corrections officials as well. More importantly what happens when you cross them. As I did.

Anonymous said...

One more innocent person executed in Florida. Florida is not a safe place to live, work, raise children. Not because of crime, but because the criminals running the Criminal "Justice" system in Florida. The police and the prison guards and the judges get away with murdering innocent people or locking them up for life sentences. Florida has a racket going on.