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franklin county times

Seal found guilty of murder

By Staff
Jason Houston FCT Managing Editor
A Franklin County jury deliberated 2 1/2 hours in circuit court Wednesday before finding 45-year-old William Sterlin Seal of Russellville guilty of the murder of Connie Tompkins.
Seal stood silently as the verdict was read at 4 p.m. Wednesday.
Sentencing for Seal, who has been in jail since his arrest, will take place at a later date. He faces a sentence of 10 years to life in prison.
Seal was accused of shooting the 40-year-old Tompkins, his live-in girlfriend, with a .410 shotgun sometime around 11:30 p.m. on Aug. 9, 2004 at Foxridge Apartments C2, where the two had been living for around six months with Seal's uncle, Carl Whitlock.
Osborn based his case on forensic testimony, the police investigation and the testimony of RPD Investigator David Hester.
The couple had a history of domestic violence, and a neighbor testified the two had a verbal confrontation the night before the murder. In fact, Tompkins spent the night at the neighbor's apartment.
Hester testified that when he arrived at the scene, he found Tompkins lying on her side in the door of a bedroom in the apartment, with her feet in the bedroom.
Hester said the fatal gunshot hit Tompkin's side, puncturing her lung and aorta, causing extensive bleeding.
According to testimony in the case, officers found a .410 pump shotgun and two spent shell casings in the bedroom near Tompkin's body. One of the pillows in the bedroom had been shot, with pellets and wadding from the shell found inside, Hester testified.
Seal, who testified in his own defense Wednesday, said Tompkins hit him in the mouth with a bottle and said he acted in self-defense as the two struggled over the gun.
A forensics expert testified during the trial that Tompkins had trace amounts of cocaine in her system. The defense produced at the trial drug paraphernalia that allegedly belonged to Tompkins.
Richey said during his closing arguments that the altercation between Tompkins and Seal happened when Seal took a crack cocaine pipe away from Tompkins and she became angry.
Hester testified that no drug paraphernalia was found at the scene. He said Seal's mother brought the pipes to the police three days after the incident.
Testimony in the case indicated that a roll of film taken by police officers at the scene was lost, a fact Richey said demonstrated the sloppiness of the investigation and which Osborn said was an honest mistake.
Tompkins' sister-in-law Denise Stubblefield said she was pleased with the verdict.
Richey said he was disappointed with the jury's verdict.

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