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Dysart man convicted of rape

Thompkins claims woman was lying

HOLLIDAYSBURG — A Blair County jury took about six hours to convict a Dysart man of rape, involuntary deviate sexual intercourse, strangulation and related charges in a case in which he claimed his accuser was lying.

Kevin D. Thompkins Sr., 52, was escorted to the Blair County Prison on Wednesday night after the jury rendered guilty verdicts about 10:15 p.m., prompting Judge Jackie Bernard to revoke Thompkins’ bail pending a Feb. 25 sentencing.

Based on the state’s standard sentencing guidelines, Thompkins faces a minimum of seven years’ incarceration on the rape conviction and on the involuntary deviate sexual intercourse conviction. Those sentences could be imposed to run consecutively, a decision that will rest with Bernard.

More incarceration time could be assigned to Thompkins’ additional convictions for strangulation, aggravated assault, criminal trespass, indecent assault, simple assault, recklessly endangering another person, terroristic treats, unlawful restraint and false imprisonment.

The jury acquitted Thompkins on a burglary charge.

“The most important words a victim can hear are: ‘You’re believed,'” Assistant District Attorney Nichole Smith told the jury Wednesday afternoon when she offered a closing argument to a trial that started Monday.

The victim, who testified Monday, was emotional on the stand and usually turned her body away from Thompkins. But she turned toward him at one point while testifying and said: “Don’t you look at me.”

She also reported feeling ill while testifying and insisted upon leaving court for a restroom break, prompting a recess.

As the guilty verdicts were announced Wednesday night, she started crying and continued crying as she left the courtroom.

“I think the jury told the victim that they believed her,” Smith said shortly after the verdicts were rendered.

“Rape cases are always tough because no matter what a victim says, it’s never enough for them to be immediately believed,” Smith said. “That’s why a lot of victims won’t say anything … and why a verdict like this should show victims that you can be believed.”

Assistant Public Defender Julia Burke shook her head in disagreement upon hearing the first guilty verdict on the charge of rape, followed by additional guilty verdicts on all but a charge of burglary.

“He didn’t rape this woman,” Burke told the jurors in her closing argument. “He disappointed her expectations (that Tompkins would be her boyfriend) and for that, she wants to destroy his life.”

When Thompkins was on the witness stand, he told the jury that he and the Altoona woman met at an Altoona bar on Aug. 11, which led to a sexual encounter the next day at a local motel. Subsequently, Thompkins said the woman, who is employed as a truck driver, offered to take him on the road so he could start training toward becoming a truck driver.

Thompkins, who said he has been a longtime construction worker, said he was interested in the training. And despite having a longtime girlfriend in Altoona, Thompkins said he and the woman, while on the road, were regularly engaging in sexual relations.

“I would say friends with benefits,” Thompkins told the jury.

On the night of Nov. 1, 2018, Thompkins said they again got together at Motel 6 for sex. And after having sex, he said the woman became angry with him because he told her that he wouldn’t go back out on the road with her and that he wasn’t leaving his longtime girlfriend.

The woman, however, told the jury that Thompkins forced his way into her Motel 6 room where he grabbed her by the throat and choked her, grabbed her arms and pushed her onto the bed, taunted and threatened her with a stun gun and raped her multiple times.

The woman said she ended the ordeal by telling Thompkins she was going to her car to get money she owed him. Instead, she took off in her vehicle and fled to a Sheetz convenience store where she told employees to call police.

Smith offered photos of the woman’s bruises and rape kit report in support of her case. Smith also praised Logan Township police officers for the evidence they collected, including a police body camera interview conducted with the woman.

Burke criticized police for filing charges without further investigating the woman’s claims or questioning Thompkins for his version of what happened.

Thompkins told the jury that when he left Motel 6 around 5 a.m., the woman had no bruises and no injuries. When state police at Ebensburg stopped him later and said they were arresting him, Thompkins said he told them: “You’ve got the wrong guy.”

Burke also tried to get the jury to believe Thompkins’ version by referring to inconsistencies within the woman’s testimony and by suggesting a motive as to why the woman would make the allegations.

“It started sinking in for her that Kevin Thompkins was not going to leave his girlfriend,” Burke said.

Prior to reaching unanimous verdicts, the jury advised that it was deadlocked on three charges about 7 p.m., prompting Bernard to encourage them to continue deliberating. At 9 p.m., the jury asked for a reading of definitions on charges of rape, involuntary deviate sexual intercourse and indecent assault and instructions relevant to reasonable doubt.

A little more than an hour later, each of the 12 jurors answered “yes” when asked if they agreed with the verdicts reached.

Mirror Staff Writer Kay Stephens is at 946-7456.

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