Three years have passed since that terrible evening, but the nightmarish experience still shadows Thompson. "Players on other teams look at me kind of funny, like, Aren't you supposed to be in jail?' " he says. "People walk up to me on the streets of New Orleans and say, I thought you were in jail, Bennie.' I want my story out. My ex-wife's, family still believes I had something to do with it."
Indeed, on the day of Thompson's public exoneration, Brenda Mayfield, Tangie's mother, told reporters, "I'm happy they've made an arrest, but I just can't see this being a robbery, since nothing was taken.... I think someone hired these people to kill my daughter." Mayfield, now Brenda Williams, stood to receive the $200,000 life-insurance benefit had Thompson been convicted in Tangie's death. She declined to be interviewed for this story.
Thompson is still angry at his former wife for bringing their" son into Andre White's world, and he feels guilty for not having done more about it. He lives by himself these days, rooming only with the past. (He and Heisser are no longer involved, though they remain friends and business associates.) Devyn's death left a hollow in Bennie's life, and all he is waiting for is the day when the last trial is over and he will have the space and time to mourn.
"Once they're all convicted, I can grieve over my son," he says. "I used to call him after every game. 'You see Daddy play on TV today?' If I didn't do well, he'd say, 'You didn't do nothin' today, Daddy.' If I had a good game, he'd say, I saw you knock that man down! Grrrr!' He loved football. He was special. Nothing will ever bring my son back. I'll be an old man sitting around telling young people about it. It will never be over for me."