Innocence Project of Florida, Inc.
1100 East Park Avenue, Tallahassee, FL 32301
Telephone 850.561.6767 Fax 850.561.5077
For Immediate Release
February 10, 2009
Seth Miller, Esq.: 202.341.2127
Innocence Project of Florida Urges Governor to Stay Wayne Tompkins’ Execution
New Round of DNA Testing Could Answer Lingering Questions about Victim’s Identity
The Innocence Project of Florida (IPF), in a letter signed by their Executive Director Seth Miller, today
urged Florida Governor Charlie Crist to stay the execution of Wayne Tompkins, who is scheduled to be
killed on Wednesday by lethal injection. Serious doubts persist about the identity of the victim, and IPF
believes a new round of DNA testing is likely to answer these important questions.
“We still harbor grave concerns about the legitimacy of Mr. Tompkins’ guilty verdict,” said Miller in his
letter. “We feel strongly that more time is necessary to look into this case.”
Mr. Tompkins was found guilty of murdering Lisa DeCarr in 1983. The evidence against him was circumstantial
and consisted of three witnesses, including one jailhouse snitch. The nature of this case is
also uncommon because the identity of the victim herself is also in doubt.
The victim’s alleged identity was supported at trial by a comparison with dental records which Miller
says was “wholly unpersuasive.” Since then, several individuals have signed affidavits claiming to have
seen her alive since the murder.
“Because the dead body’s identity is an issue, [late last year] you ordered DNA testing on bones from
that dead body as well as a robe and sash found with the dead body,” Miller wrote to Crist. “We presume
you did so in order to remove any remaining questions about whether the State of Florida was about to
execute an innocent man.” That round of testing came back inconclusive, says Miller. But he adds that,
“the facts of the case have not changed. The uncertainty surrounding the identity of the alleged victim
that led to the last round of DNA testing still exists. There should be clarity about the identity of the alleged
victim before we execute a potentially innocent man. That clarity is obtainable in Mr. Tompkins’
IPF believes that a new round of DNA testing, involving methods that have not yet been tried in this
case, would likely yield results.
Miller pledged to work with Governor Crist to “answer these remaining questions and finally obtain closure
in this case,” urging patience in order to avoid executing a potentially innocent man on Wednesday.
The Innocence Project of Florida is a 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to finding and freeing innocent
people in Florida prisons.
IPF consulted on the DNA issues in the case of Wayne Tompkins.
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