A difficult life

From childhood, Wayne Tompkins never had it easy. He told a psychiatrist in 1999 that as a child his foster father had beaten him mercilessly. Tompkins said he drank heavily — a half-gallon of whiskey and a half-case of beer every day — which caused him blackouts and memory loss. The psychiatrist described him as on "the borderline of mental functioning," with an IQ of 79.

Associates, however, described Tompkins as "an industrious, dependable man, a good worker and provider who earned enough money as a roofer to buy presents for others and to regularly send his mother money," according to an appeals court ruling.

Tompkins admitted that he had raped two women in Pasco County in 1984, though at least one of them might be considered an atypical assault. According to that victim's account — as recounted in testimony at an appellate hearing — after Tompkins kidnapped her from the convenience store where she worked and forced her into his car, she began joking with him about how big a nearby town was, how she was new in town. She played with the radio and asked him why he'd taken her.

"Because I like your ass," he replied.

"Thank you. But this is a heck of a way to tell me," she replied. "You could have asked me out for a date. … I could have given you a straight answer, yes or no."

She also told him that she was more worried about the store than her safety. "This is my first night and the doors are unlocked." According to the police report, she giggled throughout her description.

Though the transcript obtained by Orlando Weekly cuts off this part of the report, Martin McClain, Tompkins' attorney, says that Tompkins eventually drove her to a deserted area and started to undress her. McClain says instead of having sex with her, he cried and said, "I can't do it." Then he drove her back and gave her a dime so she could use a pay phone to call the cops.

"It may qualify `as rape`," McClain says, "but it's not what you normally anticipate."

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