Santa Rosa slaying prompts search to improve GPS monitoring
(Pensacola News Journal)Kristen Rasmussen
A man being monitored by a court-ordered Global Positioning System broke into his estranged wife's home in Pace last month and waited for her about 90 minutes before fatally shooting the woman and then killing himself.
Now, Santa Rosa County Sheriff Wendell Hall and Bill Cleveland, director of the county's Probation Office, are looking for ways to improve the monitoring system.
Under consideration is having the Sheriff's Office take over such monitoring systems, Hall said.
"Our condolences go out to the family," Cleveland said. "We take this case seriously, and we are going to do everything we can to see it doesn't happen again."
According to a Sheriff's Office report, Roy Albert Thompson Sr., 40, drove to an area near Pamela Hartley Thompson's trailer on O'Bryan Way shortly before midnight Oct. 14.
He had been arrested on a domestic violence charge involving Pamela Thompson, 40, about a month earlier. He was released on bond and was required to wear a GPS monitoring device, which included an ankle bracelet and main transmitter that must be carried by the wearer.
If the ankle bracelet is more than 30 feet from the main transmitter -- which can be removed at any time -- a violation is recorded by the computer system. But no emergency signal or page was sent to the company monitoring Roy Thompson.
If the system registers a breach of the no-contact zone established by the judge, the company is supposed to be alerted.
When Roy Thompson arrived near his estranged wife's home, he parked on a nearby street that was just outside the 500-foot, no-contact zone programmed into the computer system, the report stated.
Roy Thompson, who left the main transmitter inside his truck, walked to the home, broke in through a window on the west end of the trailer and rifled through drawers and a closet, loaded his pistol, removed a picture of his children from the wall and smoked a cigarette while he waited for Pamela Thompson to return.
She and her 22-year-old daughter, who had been at Seville Quarter in Pensacola, returned to the home around 1:30 a.m. Oct. 15.
Roy Thompson then shot Pamela Thompson in the right side, straddled her on the floor and shot her again in the right side of her head, the report stated. He then placed the .22-caliber gun into his mouth and fired.
The daughter told officers that she heard her mother say, "What are you doing?" and Roy Thompson replied, "I'm going to kill you."
The daughter then ran to a neighbor's house to call 911.
Officials with Court Programs of North Florida Inc. in Milton -- the company that provided Roy Thompson's GPS monitor -- could not be reached for comment.
Cleveland said the company has worked with the county's probation office since 1991, and no such problems have been reported during that time.
Hall said he is looking into how GPS monitoring is handled in Santa Rosa County.
One possibility includes the installation of hardware or software that would allow Sheriff's Office computers to be linked to the GPS companies' computers so deputies could respond directly when a violation is recorded.
Another alternative would give victims a pager that would alert them when a defendant has breached a no-contact zone. Such a system exists in Escambia County and is used in parts of Santa Rosa County, State Attorney Bill Eddins said.