For Immediate Release
Contact: Corinne Farrell
Tuesday, November 11, 2008
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
–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
Tompkins' stay of execution expires on Nov. 18.
For further information
about Tompkins' case, contact his attorney, Martin McClain, 305-984-8344, email:
For other death penalty information, contact
DPIC's Executive Director, Richard Dieter,