Florida Inmate Facing Imminent Execution Despite Evidence of Witness Tampering by Prosecution
A Florida inmate faces execution despite new revelations that the state prompted a trial witness to lie. Inmate Wayne 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, a jailhouse informant, admitted to providing false testimony at Tompkins' original trial in 1985.
Justice Harry Anstead dissented from the court's ruling, noting that jailhouse informants are often unreliable, and in this case the informant was apparently prompted to lie. He wrote, "Indeed, if the claim is true, we have a state prosecutor who committed a criminal act in tampering with a witness. 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' attorney Martin McClain cited numerous concerns about the state's case. "This is one of the most troubling cases that I have," he said. "The evidence against Mr. Tompkins is just absurd." Tompkins' stay of execution expires on Nov. 18.
(C. Jenkins, “Tampa killer loses death row appeal,” November 8, 2008). See Innocence and Arbitrariness. DPIC’s Press Release on the story may be found here.