Monday, 27 October 2008

The prosecutor located a jail house informant - The innocence case of Wayne Tompkins

Kathy Stevens’ deposition occurred on June 12, 1985.

Kenneth Turco’s deposition occurred on July 15, 1985.

At that time, he said that in late June, 1985, he first talked to Wayne
Tompkins about his case, and that about a week and a half before
the deposition, Mr. Tompkins confessed to him (Turco depo. at 8).

Thereafter, the prosecutor located a jail house informant,
Kenneth Turco, who claimed that Mr. Tompkins had confessed to the

Mr. Turco’s testimony so matched Kathy Stevens’ story
that defense counsel argued that the informant had obtained
access to Ms. Stevens’ deposition or statement and used it to
Kenneth Turco was serving a 30-year prison sentence for
burglary and grand theft (R. 301-02). Turco also had been
previously convicted of grand theft, forgery, and burglary (R.

Turco acknowledged that there was a confidential informant
system in prison and he had been part of that for the last 4 or 5
years, and that he was “trustworthy” (R. 317). When he was in
jail with Mr. Tompkins, he had just entered a guilty plea on an
escape charge (R. 303).

He was waiting to be sentenced (R. 304).

While in the jail, he made contact with Wayne Tompkins after he
“was placed in the cell with him” (R. 305). After his contact
with Mr. Tompkins, Turco contacted prosecutor Benito, who visited
him personally, and promised only “my safety in the jail and that
[he] would tell the judge at my sentencing hearing that I
cooperated and I came forward and testified in a murder trial”
(R. 311).

Turco testified that he was not hopeful that his testimony
would help him on the escape sentence because he would still be
doing time anyway (R. 315). However, it had crossed his mind that
his testimony would help him (Id.).

In 1989, Mike Benito, Mr. Tompkins’ prosecuting attorney,
testified that he took over Turco’s prosecution two weeks after
Wayne Tompkins’ sentence of death. He explained, “I walked down
to court. I was about to offer Mr. Turco a negotiation. I got in
here and I looked at Mr. Turco and I said, ‘This guy showed a lot
of guts coming forward as a jailhouse informant to testify as to
what Mr. Tompkins told him.’” (PC-R. 235). So, Benito “got up and
walked down here and announced the case, and said, ‘I nol-pros

A grateful Turco “looked at [Benito] like he had just been
handed his first bicycle at Christmas.” (PC-R. 236).

mold his testimony.11

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