Local man sentenced to prison for murder of fellow inmate over tablet use

Crime Watch

REXBURG — A local man was sentenced Monday for beating a fellow jail inmate until he bled to death at the Madison County Jail.

Robert Pompa, 27, was sentenced by District Judge Steven Boyce to between 27 years and life in prison.

According to court documents, on Oct. 8, 2021, Pompa beat 62-year-old inmate Eddie Blaine Stacey with his fist until he died.

Pompa attacked and killed Stacey over the use of an electronic tablet that jail inmates use to communicate with family and friends outside of the jail.

According to court records, part of the murder was caught on jail security cameras, showing Pompa striking Stacey 16 times before knocking him onto the floor, where he lay in a pool of his blood until he died. For that crime, Pompa pleaded guilty to second-degree murder after over a year of court hearings, and a plea agreement.

Pompa also pleaded guilty to felony assault on a correction officer after attacking a jail guard just days after the murder of Stacey. Boyce found Pompa guilty of felony assault on the officer and sentenced him to an additional two years on top of the initial murder sentence of 25 years to life.

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At the time of the murder, Stacey was serving a 90-day sentence for a misdemeanor alcohol charge, while Pompa was in jail for drug trafficking and unlawful possession of a firearm.

Pompa took an opportunity to address the court on Monday, explaining the circumstances behind the murder and stating that he has remorse for the situation.

“I guess to kind of shed some light on the whole situation is, the tablets are our way of communicating with family and friends. It’s our lifeline; that’s how we stay sane,” said Pompa. “There’s definitely no excuse for what I did, and if I could give up my life right now to bring him back, I would. I feel really bad about it.”

Madison County Prosecutor Rob Wood read a victim impact statement written by Stacey’s brother, stating, “Eddie may not have been a role model, or a pillar of the community, so to speak, but he did not deserve to die in this manner,” Wood said on behalf of Stacey’s brother. “The injuries that he sustained from Pompa led to friends and family saying goodbye to a closed casket.”

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The statement then addressed Pompa directly, telling him that the family did not want to hear his apologies.

“My brother laid in a pool of his own blood for over five minutes with no one offering any kind of help after Mr. Pompa violently beat him and walked away from the scene, receiving praise from other cellmates, while Eddie laid helpless on the floor dying,” wrote Stacey’s brother. “We personally believe that (Pompa) has no remorse for his actions, and we respectfully ask him not to offer his sorrow to our family at this time.”

Wood then recommended that the court sentence Pompa to the maximum sentence of 25 years to life, stating that the crime was “needless and senseless.”

“There was no provocation from Eddie Stacey whatsoever. He never got out of his chair, he never listed his fists, he never even attempted to defend himself, nor do I believe he had the time to defend himself,” Wood said. “The attack was that rapid and that violent.”

Wood continued to tell the court about Pompa’s long history of criminal activity.

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“Mr. Pompa’s criminal history is lengthy and involves multiple theft, burglaries, injuries to property, drug crimes and violent crimes,” Wood said. “The question is, what do we do with someone like Mr. Pompa?”

Pompa’s court-appointed attorney, Trent Grant, told the court that Pompa is young and had a difficult childhood, leading to an inability to socialize appropriately.

“Although I wish that I could say something that would help reduce pain or hurt regarding Mr. Stacey’s family, there is nothing I can say to do that,” said Grant. The attorney added that Pompa came from a background that, “certainly contains some trauma, which would affect a person’s maturity, and would affect a person’s ability to, perhaps, appropriately socialize.”

Boyce’s statements before pronouncing the sentencing centered around Pompa’s long history of violent offenses.

“Quite frankly, it’s pretty shocking to me that you were able to compile such a lengthy serious criminal history at your age. The number of offenses and felonies is remarkable, starting from the time you were 14 years old,” Boyce said. “Given this information, you can be a serious threat to those around you, whether you’re in the community or being housed in a secure facility.”

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Boyce then addressed the fact Pompa would commit a murder and then attack a jail guard just days later.

“You were here in jail in Madison County, awaiting sentencing in a serious federal criminal case, you had already previously done a prison term, and you killed Eddie Stacey without any provocation or without justification,” Boyce said. “It’s shocking to me that after that happened, and facing a murder charge in jail, you attack an officer who is there to provide you with medication that you need. To me, that just says you are a very dangerous person.”

Pompa was then sentenced and given credit for time served since the indictment on Nov. 18, 2021, which adds up to one year and 10 days.

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