Tompkins v. State, No. SC08-992.

CourtUnited States State Supreme Court of Florida
Writing for the CourtPer Curiam
Citation994 So.2d 1072
PartiesWayne TOMPKINS, Appellant, v. STATE of Florida, Appellee. Wayne Tompkins, Appellant, v. State of Florida, Appellee. Wayne Tompkins, Petitioner, v. State of Florida, Respondent.
Docket NumberNo. SC08-2000.,No. SC08-992.,No. SC08-1979.
Decision Date07 November 2008
994 So.2d 1072
Wayne TOMPKINS, Appellant,
STATE of Florida, Appellee.
Wayne Tompkins, Appellant,
State of Florida, Appellee.
Wayne Tompkins, Petitioner,
State of Florida, Respondent.
No. SC08-992.
No. SC08-1979.
No. SC08-2000.
Supreme Court of Florida.
November 7, 2008.

[994 So.2d 1075]

Neal Dupree, Capital Collateral Regional Counsel, Fort Lauderdale, FL, and Martin J. McClain, Special Assistant CCR Counsel, Southern Region, Wilton Manors, FL, for Appellant/Appellant/Petitioner.

Bill McCollum, Attorney General, Tallahassee, FL, and Scott A. Browne, Assistant

[994 So.2d 1076]

Attorney General, Tampa, FL, for Appellee/Appellee/Respondent.


Tompkins, a prisoner under sentence of death and under an active death warrant, appeals from the trial court's orders denying motions to vacate his sentence under Florida Rule of Criminal Procedure 3.851.1 Tompkins also petitions to invoke this Court's authority to issue all writs necessary to complete the exercise of its jurisdiction, or alternatively to issue a writ of habeas corpus, or both. Because the orders concern postconviction relief from a sentence of death, this Court has jurisdiction of the appeal under article V, section 3(b)(1), Florida Constitution. Additionally, we have jurisdiction over the petition under article V, sections 3(b)(7) and 3(b)(9), Florida Constitution. For the reasons stated in this opinion, we affirm the trial court's orders and deny Tompkins's petition for all writs and habeas relief.


In 1985, Wayne Tompkins was convicted of the 1983 first-degree murder of fifteen-year-old Lisa DeCarr and was sentenced to death on the recommendation of a unanimous jury. This case has a long procedural history. The conviction and death sentence have been reviewed and affirmed on direct appeal and have been the subject of multiple postconviction proceedings, including five postconviction motions, all of which have resulted in a total of eight opinions issued by this Court and federal courts.2 The facts of this case are set forth in this Court's opinion in Tompkins's direct appeal of his conviction and sentence:

The victim, Lisa DeCarr, aged 15, disappeared from her home in Tampa on March 24, 1983. In June 1984, the victim's skeletal remains were found in a shallow grave under the house along with her pink bathrobe and jewelry. Based upon a ligature (apparently the sash of her bathrobe) that was found tied tightly around her neck bones, the medical examiner determined that Lisa had been strangled to death. In September 1984, Wayne Tompkins, the victim's mother's boyfriend, was charged with the murder.

At trial, the state's three key witnesses testified as follows. Barbara DeCarr, the victim's mother, testified that she left the house on the morning of March 24, 1983, at approximately 9 a.m., leaving Lisa alone in the house. Lisa was dressed in her pink bathrobe. Barbara met Wayne Tompkins at his mother's house a few blocks away. Some

994 So.2d 1077

time that morning, she sent Tompkins back to her house to get some newspapers for packing. When Tompkins returned, he told Barbara that Lisa was watching television in her robe. Tompkins then left his mother's house again, and Barbara did not see or speak to him again until approximately 3 o'clock that afternoon. At that time, Tompkins told Barbara that Lisa had run away. He said the last time he saw Lisa, she was going to the store and was wearing jeans and a blouse. Barbara returned to the Osborne Street house where she found Lisa's pocketbook and robe missing but not the clothes described by Tompkins. Barbara then called the police.

The state's next witness, Kathy Stevens, a close friend of the victim, testified that she had gone to Lisa DeCarr's house at approximately 9 a.m. on the morning of March 24, 1983. After hearing a loud crash, Stevens opened the front door and saw Lisa on the couch struggling and hitting Tompkins who was on top of her attempting to remove her clothing. Lisa asked her to call the police. At that point, Stevens left the house but did not call the police. When Stevens returned later to retrieve her purse, Tompkins answered the door and told her that Lisa had left with her mother. Stevens also testified that Tompkins had made sexual advances towards Lisa on two prior occasions.

Kenneth Turco, the final key state's witness, testified that Tompkins confided details of the murder to him while they were cellmates in June 1985. Turco testified that Tompkins told him that Lisa was on the sofa when he returned to the house to get some newspapers for packing. When Tompkins tried to force himself on her, Lisa kicked him in the groin. Tompkins then strangled her and buried her under the house along with her pocketbook and some clothing (jeans and a top) to make it appear as if she had run away.

After the state rested its case, the trial court denied Tompkins' motion for acquittal, finding that the evidence was sufficient to prove premeditation and that the state had established a prima facie case. The defense rested after the close of the state's case without presenting any additional evidence. The jury found Tompkins guilty as charged.

At the penalty phase, the state presented evidence from three witnesses to show that Tompkins had been convicted of kidnapping and rape stemming from two separate incidents in Pasco County which occurred after Lisa DeCarr's disappearance. The defense presented testimony from three witnesses regarding Tompkins' good work record, shy and nonviolent personality, and honesty.

The trial judge, finding three aggravating circumstances (previous conviction of felonies involving the use or threat of violence to the person; murder committed while the defendant was engaged in an attempt to commit sexual battery; murder was especially heinous, atrocious, or cruel) and one statutory mitigating circumstance (defendant's age at the time of the crime), followed the jury's recommendation and sentenced Tompkins to death.

Tompkins I, 502 So.2d at 417-18 (footnotes omitted).

The complex procedural history of this case is detailed in our most recent opinion, and we therefore do not repeat it in this opinion. See Tompkins VI, 980 So.2d at 452-56. In Tompkins VI, we reviewed the trial court's denial of Tompkins's third postconviction motion, in which he alleged that new information provided by James Davis, Lisa DeCarr's boyfriend at the time of her disappearance, significantly impeached the testimony of Kathy Stevens

994 So.2d 1078

and required reversal of the conviction and death sentence. 980 So.2d at 455.3 Specifically, Davis stated that he did not see Stevens at the corner store on the morning Stevens witnessed Tompkins assaulting Lisa, contrary to Stevens's testimony. Tompkins VI, 980 So.2d at 455. The trial court evaluated Tompkins's claim as one of newly discovered evidence and denied the claim. Id. at 456.

This Court affirmed the trial court's denial of the claim. This Court concluded that although the impeachment evidence could not be viewed as insignificant, when considered with the other evidence presented at trial, it was not of such nature that it would probably produce an acquittal on retrial. Id. at 458 (citing Jones v. State, 591 So.2d 911, 915 (Fla. 1991)). This Court engaged in an extensive analysis to reach this conclusion:

In this case, Davis's affidavit contradicts Stevens' testimony regarding her encounter with Davis at the corner store, which Stevens indicated was part of the reason she did not call the police. However, his statements do not address Stevens' testimony that she saw Tompkins attacking Lisa.

Further, Stevens, who was fifteen when she witnessed the assault and seventeen at the time of trial, was significantly impeached by defense counsel. She waited almost a year to come forward after Lisa's body was discovered and made previous statements to the prosecutor and Mrs. DeCarr that she had no information about Lisa's disappearance. The State's argument to the jury regarding Stevens' credibility in the face of this impeachment was that Stevens had no reason to lie. The statements in Davis's affidavit do not provide any new information that suggests that Stevens did, in fact, have a motive to lie.

. . . .

This is also not a case where an important witness has recanted his or her testimony. See Lightbourne v. State, 742 So.2d 238, 249 (Fla.1999) (remanding for an evidentiary hearing to determine whether newly recanted testimony, when considered cumulatively with all of the post-trial evidence indicated that other witnesses testified falsely, required a new penalty-phase hearing). Indeed, none of the State's three "key witnesses" — Mrs. DeCarr, Stevens, or Turco — has recanted.

. . . .

Finally, even when Davis's affidavit is considered cumulatively with any favorable evidence the State withheld, as alleged in Tompkins' prior two postconviction motions, we conclude that the motions, files, and records show that Tompkins is not entitled to relief under either the materiality prong of Brady [v. Maryland, 373 U.S. 83, 83 S.Ct. 1194, 10 L.Ed.2d 215 (1963)] or the second prong of Jones. In Tompkins IV, we affirmed the summary denial of Tompkins' Brady claims, concluding that "[e]ither the undisclosed documents are not Brady material because they are neither favorable to Tompkins nor suppressed, or Tompkins has not demonstrated that he was prejudiced by the lack of disclosure." 872 So.2d at 241.

994 So.2d 1079

We further stated that "even if we were to engage in a cumulative analysis and consider the undisclosed, favorable documents in conjunction with Tompkins' claims raised in his first motion for postconviction relief, our conclusion as to prejudice would not change." Id. at 241-42. We reach the same conclusion in this case.

Tompkins VI, 980 So.2d at 458-59 (citation and footnote omitted).

On December 21, 2007, Tompkins filed a fourth successive amended or revised motion to vacate...

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