[Deathpenalty]death penalty news----worldwide
rhalperi at mail.smu.edu
Wed Nov 17 09:51:53 CST 2004
Omani courts uphold womans death sentence
A Tuttle woman is one step closer to the firing squad after her appeal was
denied in Oman last week.
Rebecca Thompson, 45, was convicted in May of killing her husband, Mark
Thompson. He was an oil worker in Oman, a country in the Middle East that
borders Saudi Arabia.
Thompson was killed a short time after Christmas 2003. Although previous
reports indicated he had been shot, during the trial it was revealed that
he had been drugged, then beaten and burned. His body was recovered in a
car in the desert on Jan. 1 of this year.
Rebecca Thompson was sentenced to death by firing squad by the Omani
court. Her son, Derrick Green, 14, was also convicted, but was given a
deferred sentence and deported back to the United States. Two 17-year-old
Omani youths were also convicted of the crime and given 10-year-sentences.
The court found that Thompson had orchestrated the murder with the
assistance of the young men.
During the trial, Rebecca Thompson said she was driven to kill her husband
after years of repeated abuse.
Grady County court documents seem to back her claim.
On Oct. 14, 2002, Rebecca Thompson filed for a protective order against
her husband, saying that he verbally and emotionally abused her and shoved
her. The protective order was approved later that month.
In documents from April 2003, Mark Thompson confessed, in his own
handwriting, that "I, Mark Thompson, did on the 7th day of March 2003,
grab my wife, Rebecca Thompson, by the wrists, drag her and grabbed her by
the throat in Grady County without justification or excuse."
Rebecca Thompsons daughter, Laura Albert, said this week that the abuse
continued even after the couple moved to Oman.
"She was being abused and burned with cigarettes," Albert said. "A witness
at the trial testified that my mother had burns all over her." Albert also
remembered that years before, her grandmother had eaten a meal with the
two and witnessed Mark Thompson poking his wife with a fork.
"And it wasnt joking around," Albert said. "He was stabbing her with it,
Albert said that she tried to keep quiet on the abuse allegations, but now
that her mother may lose her life, she feels she must come forward with
the information. After her brother was returned to the United States,
Albert appeared on the T.V. show "Good Morning, America," where she showed
the Grady County court documents and discussed her mothers situation.
"I never wanted to hurt Mark Thompsons family," Albert said. "It was never
my intention to cause any more pain to them than had already been caused.
But on the Good Morning, America story, the abuse really came out. In the
paper that was filed upon his conviction, he admitted in his own
handwriting to choking my mom. He drug her by her hands. There were
neighbors that witnessed it - that he drug her by her hands and was
kicking her in the front yard." In defense of the dead
Back in Texas, Mark Thompsons friends and family scour the Internet for
stories on the murder and his wifes appeal process. His former wife and
two children believe the abuse was coming from Rebecca Thompson, not Mark.
So does his close friend, Barry Bynum, who acted as Mark Thompsons power
of attorney when Thompson was in Oman. The 2 saved each others lives
countless times as firefighters and Bynum said he knew that Thompson would
never abuse his wife, or anyone else.
Mark Thompson and his first wife, Pam, lived next door to the Bynums for
12 years, and the men were on the fire department together for 10 years.
"Mark Thompson, his kids and Pam had a close family," Bynum said earlier
this week from his home in Runaway Bay, a suburb of Bridgeport, Texas.
"They were even named the Family of the Year by the Runaway Bay Chamber of
Commerce. I guarantee you Mark Thompson was a stand-up guy before he met
Bynum said Mark met Rebecca in Oklahoma, when he was visiting on business.
He and Pam separated, then divorced.
When the Thompsons separated, Mark Thompson lived in an apartment for a
short time, then stayed with the Bynums.
"They got a divorce because of Rebecca," Bynum said. "Rebecca had to have
something over Mark. I dont know what it was, but I know one thing. Im on
my 4th wife, so I know. When a man really wants a divorce, he doesnt break
down and cry like a baby, and thats what Mark Thompson did."
Bynums wife, Brenda also believes that Mark Thompson divorced Pam and
married Rebecca for reasons other than love.
"She had something on him, but I dont know what it was," Brenda Bynum
said. "I asked him once and he almost told me. He almost told me. Then he
backed off." She doesnt believe the abuse allegations either - at least
not that Mark abused Rebecca.
"I never saw him violent with her," she said. "He never even spanked his
kids, that we knew of. But when we heard that he had been murdered, it
came as no surprise to me. I knew, even before it was suggested, that
Rebecca murdered him. We sure lost a good friend."
Barry Bynum said that he didnt consider the documents from Grady County as
proof of abuse, either.
"I'm sick and tired of everyone telling how Rebecca was so innocent. Thats
wrong," he said. "That abuse charge filed in Oklahoma? Mark told me that
were in a scuffle and he grabbed her arms to keep her from hurting him,
then he left."
Bynum believes that Mark Thompson signed the confession because of the
blackmail threats from his wife.
But if abuse was not the reason for the murder, why was Mark Thompson
Bynum said that he doesnt know what it could have been, unless it was for
money. As Mark Thompsons power of attorney, he knows that Thompson was
putting around $10,000 a month into savings from his job. The company Mark
Thompson worked for also had a $300,000 insurance policy for him.
"But him being dead and her being there, well never know the truth," Bynum
2 sides to every story
Although his friend is dead, Barry Bynum said that he doesnt believe that
death sentences are a good choice, but isnt sure what is best in this
"The Bible says, An eye for an eye, but I dont believe in that," he said.
"Im a Christian, but I dont think that death is the way to go. But Ill put
it this way. if she lives, somebody else may suffer down the road."
He does, however, understand why her daughter is fighting for her safe
return to the states.
"I understand her daughter trying to save her," he said. "This sides
bitter, but that sides not. Thats her mother."
Albert says much the same.
"Im so sorry for their loss," she said. "Im sorry Marks dead. But my
mothers not dead. I have to help her. Shes my mother."
And its true. Mark Thompsons ashes are now back home in Texas, with his
Rebecca Thompson remains in an Omani jail, sharing a cell with a German
woman who, along with her lover, allegedly killed her father. Thompson has
had food poisoning 6 times since becoming an inmate in the Omani system.
Albert last spoke to her mother 3 weeks ago.
One final appeal
On Tuesday, Nov. 9, Albert received word that her mothers death sentence -
by firing squad - had been upheld by the higher court, an Omani version of
the Supreme Court.
"We werent expecting a decision until the end of this month, because of
Ramadan," Albert said, referring to the Islamic holy month. "It was kind
of a shock."
Albert said that her mother has one final chance, as her case is presented
to the Sultan of Oman. The waiting will continue, Albert said. She has
been told the decision could come in a month, or two months, or 6 months.
Oman has never carried out a death sentence on a woman. The last person
executed in Oman was in 2001, when a man from Bangladesh was killed.
Amnesty International, a human rights organization, has now joined the
fight to save the life of Rebecca Thompson.
The organization has sent out a plea worldwide, asking those who oppose
the death penalty or want to help Thompson to send appeals to the Sultan.
According to the appeal, the Sultan has the power to confirm or commute
the sentence, and if confirmed, Thompson will be at risk of imminent
Albert said that now, her only hope is for people to join together and
keep her mother, an American national, from being killed in a foreign
country for what may have been a murder in response to an abusive
situation. Letters of appeal for Thompson can be addressed to:
Sultan of Oman
His Majesty Sultan Qaboos Bin Said
Diwan of the Royal Court
PO Box 875, Muscat 113
Sultinate of Oman
(source: Tuttle Times)
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