Nearly Two Years After State Prosecutor Jack Campbell Charged 17-year-old DeShon Rashard Thomas with 2 Counts of First Degree Murder, There’s Still No Sworn Statement from “Key Witness”

According to an article that I recently read on an MSNBC website, law school graduates seeking to get law licenses have to pass the Florida Bar’s two-pronged test: an exam and a moral character review. I did not do the research to find out when The Florida Bar put that two-pronged test into effect. Nor did I do the research to find out what tests were required for existing attorneys, especially those who have been practicing law for over 30 years. I’m not a law school student, but I know that in some criminal cases 30 years ago, law enforcement officers, in conjunction with state prosecutors, didn’t use a whole lot of man hours when investigating criminal cases. You see, there were, and still are, those in authority who have sold their souls to the devil by knowingly lying on innocent people and allowing that innocent person to serve jail and or prison time for committing murders and other crimes.
Over 30 years ago, if a law enforcement officer said that someone committed a murder, then there you go—one or two paid off witnesses later—and the state prosecutor was guaranteed to get a jury to return a guilty verdict. If you think that this is false, just ask my new friend William Dillon who spent 27 years in prison for a 1981 murder that he didn’t commit. William Dillon, his girlfriend, Ellen and I spent hours on the phone discussing his case and my son’s case. He pointed out similarities of my son’s case and his–he too voluntarily went down to the sheriff’s office because of their focus on him and no one else. William Dillon was 21-years-old when he was charged with the beating death of a man he’d never came in contact with. In 2008, DNA evidence eventually cleared William Dillon. Governor Rick Scott would later sign a claims bill that will compensate him a monetary settlement of $1.35 million, but that will never be enough for taking an innocent man away from his loving family, opportunity to be a base stellar baseball pitcher, a loving husband and father in his prime.
No one person could convict William Dillon of such a heinous crime. The root of it all was the sheriff’s office. Then it grew to the state prosecutor. Then an ill-will dog handler that worked for the sheriff’s office; there were paid witness, jailhouse snitches, and a bloody T-shirt. All of these things were placed in front of a jury—who then returned a guilty verdict. The judge sentenced William Dillon to life in prison based on all lies. Now the descendants of all of those people and other innocent taxpayers, have to pay William Dillon for the rest of his natural life.
My name is Carissa Chambers, my son, DeShon Rashard Thomas, was 17-years-old, in the 2nd semester of college and working approximately 35 hours a week at Taco Bell—a job that he enjoyed, when he was charged with two counts of 1st Degree Murder. The two victims were his 20-year-old pregnant ex-girlfriend and her 17-year-old brother. Both my son and the female victim were involved in other relationships and were basically looking forward to the birth of the baby. Although my son told me that he wasn’t for sure if he was the father of the unborn baby, we still supported the young woman. My oldest son had just became a father of a baby girl, so when DeShon’s ex-girlfriend called me to inform me that she was pregnant with a girl, I started preserving my new granddaughter’s items. Had my son’s ex-girlfriend lived and had her daughter, my granddaughters would’ve been just about 13 months apart. My two sons would’ve brought the daughters that I never had, by way of granddaughters, into my life. (Pending DNA results of course—my boys will tell you, “Mama ain’t no fool.”) After the murders, the female victim’s current 21-year-old boyfriend (who they shared a history of on again off again dating) told detectives that she told him that he was the father of her unborn baby. This young man, who had recently had dinner with the female victim and her family, wasn’t interviewed by detectives until four days after the victims were found murdered. And that interview took place at his job. As I like to always refer back to information that I was provided with (which is always hard to tell who’s telling the truth) as I’m typing this article I went back to look at what I now know to be an altered copy of the Discovery Report that I received from my son’s former attorney, Gregory Cummings, to verify the date of the young man’s interview—and out popped the wrong date of his birth next to his name. It’s bad enough that as the victim’s boyfriend and possible father of the unborn baby, he never came to the crime scene or to the sheriff’s office to see what had happened or to offer any information. Could it be possible that he gave detectives the wrong date of his birth in order to keep them from immediately finding out that he was on probation and had a felony record—prior drug charges. After all, the victims’ mother owned a Chevy Tahoe and her girlfriend drove a pink BMW. They had separate residences but neither one of them were employed. A year prior to the murders, the victims’ mother took out a police report against this current boyfriend claiming that he’d stolen the license plate to her car. When it comes to reading the Discovery Report in my son’s case, I really can’t distinguish if things that have been said are detectives’ errors or witnesses’ lies. Either way, they don’t support State Prosecutor Jack Campbell’s charges.
I wonder if my son’s former Defense Attorney Gregory Cummings had to take The Florida Bar’s two-pronged test of exam and moral character. In his response to my Florida Bar complaint, he states that he’s been practicing law for over 30 years. He even goes on to boast about how he’s argued cases in front of Judge James Hankinson. When I read that I thought, did he have to mention that—or was there a reason for him to mention that? Has he been so out of touch in my son’s case that he forgot that Judge James Hankinson is the judge presiding over his case? I wondered why didn’t he mention anything about his bread and butter—State Attorney Willie Meggs and State Prosecutor Jack Campbell.
After paying Gregory Cummings $30,000 to defend my son, we (my son and I) still have no knowledge about three key pieces of evidence that the State Prosecutor Jack Campbell claims to support the charges against my son. One–the time of death of the victims; two—my son’s cell phone records–which were immediately sealed; and three—a sworn statement from my son’s co-worker/roommate, 21-year-old Trentin Ross. Just ask yourself, what type of defense attorney with good or even fair moral character, would not have or share these key pieces of evidence with their client– after being on a case for nearly a year and a half (sixteen months)?
In hindsight, Gregory Cummings obtained my son and I by using a cut-throat maneuver to his own colleagues. Gregory Cummings, being a Conflict Attorney with the Conflict Counsel’s office, was well aware that my son and I were waiting for the Conflict Counsel’s office to assign an attorney to my son’s case. I did not have the money to afford a private attorney—which what Gregory Cummings said he could handle my son’s case as—a private attorney. (It would’ve been foolish of me to immediately jump onboard with a private attorney—when I knew that I couldn’t immediately afford one.) With my son sitting in jail for over a month without any contact with an attorney and charges steadily being brought against him, such as Possession of a Firearm by a Juvenile Delinquent, and the Tallahassee Democrat stating that Georgia Cappleman told a Grand Jury that the victims were murdered with my son’s 9mm pistol—and in turn returning an Indictment against my son-I had to do something. Even a buffalo is not going to stand by and let a pack of lions eat their young.
Gregory Cummings again called me. He said, “Ms. Chambers your son needs an attorney, now!” I then agreed to retain him. A couple of days later, we signed a Contract for Service. He didn’t explain anything to me in regards to flat rate fee and an hourly rate fee—none of that is in the contract. Yes, I read where the fix fee of $35,000 retainer fee was non-refundable—but when you pay someone to provide a service and you trust that that person is going to provide that service—then you don’t care about getting your money back—all you want is good, if not excellent service. Imagine yourself signing a contract with a plumber to repair your toilet and it states ‘money for the service is non-refundable’. Who cares? All you want is to not have to deal with your toilet overflowing at 2:30 a.m. after you take your mid-morning tinkle (piss). I was to pay Gregory Cummings a total of $50,000. I was $5000 short of paying Gregory Cummings the total amount of the retainer fee. This was partly due to other family obligations (I’m the guardian of a teenage nephew with special needs and a great-niece born to a mentally disabled mother) and the other part was because I spent so much time running behind Gregory Cummings. I mean there were months on end when neither me nor my son would hear from him. It was a struggle for me to pay him the $1000 a month payment that we agreed upon—but he got it. I just trusted this guy for way too long. (I recently turned 40-years-old. If someone asked me what moment in my life would I drop my head down to in shame–I would say– trusting my 17-year-old son’s life to Gregory Cummings. And this tops a one-time situation when I was a 16-year-old single mom and I was having a hard time finding a babysitter to babysit my 9-month-old son while I went to work. When I called in to work pretending to be sick, my supervisor told me that if I didn’t come in to work that I was going to be fired. Really having no other alternative, I chose to leave my son with a woman who was a known crack addict. She had three small kids of her own that she barely cared for and an unclean apartment. I promised to pay her $20 to keep my son for 10 hours—hoping that the money would motivate her to properly care for my most cherished gift—my son. I remember praying all day for my son’s well being. I prayed the whole time during the city bus ride to work; the whole time while I worked my shift—this was in the late 80’s when in the housing project where I lived, it was considered a luxury to have a home phone—in which she did not have. I then prayed the whole while on the city bus after work. I even prayed while I was knocking on her door to pick my son up. When she opened the door with my son in her arms, he almost looked better than he looked when I left him with people who I trusted the most. I paid her for her services and I never asked her to babysit again. When my son, Robert Chambers, graduated from Florida State University in the spring of 2011—believe me when I tell you—there are no words that can explain how I felt.)
Gregory Cummings also stated in his response to my Florida Bar complaint that I was supposed to pay him the balance and any outstanding costs at trial. He states that he was prepared to go to trial all 4 trial dates that were reset at Pre-trial by State Prosecutor Jack Campbell (3 on the court docket). He complains that I never paid him the balance—well why would I pay him the remaining balance when he’d only seen my son a total of three times, did not hire an investigator or present any kind of legal defense what-so-ever. Gregory Cummings never asked my son anything about the relationship he had with the female victim and her brother. Gregory Cummings couldn’t tell you what type of person Trentin Ross (the state’s key witness) is because he never spoke to anyone who knows Trentin Ross. Trentin Ross and my son worked at Taco Bell together for almost a year. Gregory Cummings never spoke to any employees at Taco Bell about Trentin Ross or my son. So it wasn’t as if Gregory Cummings would’ve had to run all over the city of Tallahassee to gather information–he just was not concerned about communicating with my son.
I’m a seventies baby. After my parent’s divorce in the mid 1970’s, my seven siblings and I spent a short time in a Florida foster care facility. My dad tried to secure a nice lifestyle after his tours in the Vietnam War to include a new wife from Thailand (whom he’s still married too), by getting his seven kids out of foster care and relocating us to Michigan. But from what I can remember, the language barer and close age proximity to my teenage sisters of my dad’s new Thai wife made my dad’s life difficult. Soon we were all living with my mom out in Texas. My mom’s only reliable means of income was the child support that she received from my dad. When my mom relocated us back to Florida, she quickly found herself awaking all seven of her kids up during the wee hours of the morning (weekends only) and dragging us out in the frigid cold to walk to a pick up spot where we all got on a bus with a bunch of strangers to go pick oranges in an orange grove. I was the youngest child so my job was to climb the tree, pick the oranges and drop them down to my sisters (it’s a good thing that I was a tomboy—once the sun came out and warmed up a little—it was kind of fun). I got my first real job when I was 13-years-old at Wendy’s fast-food restaurant. I didn’t use a fake I.D. or anything. I think the manager took a look at my appearance, felt sorry for me and just hired me on the spot. Despite practicing safe sex, I got pregnant when I was 15-years-old. I struggled through high school, because I knew that if I dropped out, I wouldn’t be able to give my son the things that he needed to make ethical gains in his life. I graduated with my class. During 1996, DeShon’s dad and I were 24-years-old. We had custody of six of two of my sisters’ kids because I didn’t want to see them in foster care. All of the kids were under the age of 13. Then DeShon’s dad and I took in his three younger sisters while his mom was called up by her Army Reserve Unit to go do a tour in Somalia. During this time I was not only running my household—I was in college to become a paralegal and working.
A lot has changed in my life since then, but one thing that didn’t change is my work ethic. I didn’t finish college but I went to a technical school and got a Certificate in Business Software Technology. No matter where I worked, a lot of my colleagues thought that I had a full college education. It’s not because I’m so smart–it’s because no matter where I worked, I was always open minded and treated people with respect. So when Gregory Cummings discusses the financial part of our contract—it’s crazy for him to make it sound as if I wanted services from him without wanting to pay him. It’s crazy for him to think that I while I was paying him the money–he didn’t need to explain any type of accounting or information to my son and me about all things happening or not happening. It’s crazy for him to think that it’s ok to let State Prosecutor Jack Campbell keep asking for a Continuance at Pre-trial–and not Object to it–even if it was “Just for the Record.” Where was his defense? What I learned about Gregory Cummings is— he’s gotten so used to riding off of the State of Florida’s money and being spoon fed cases by the Conflict Counsel’s Office that he’s forgotten what it was like to actually work for his money. That’s probably why he doesn’t have a paralegal. Why would he have a paralegal when he can get the clerks at the Leon County Clerk of Courts to provide you with everything—no money out of his pockets.
The latest charge against my son, Solicitation to Commit Murder—against Trentin Ross—was none other than a curve ball thrown by the State Attorney’s office to buy time and try to get something to stick to my son. This charge came a week after Gregory Cummings learned about my complaint to The Florida Bar. According to the Probable Cause Report in this case, they started investigating my son in late June. Now how ironic is it that after I’d sent an email dated 6-22-12 to Gregory Cummings asking that because of me being a witness–can I be allowed to be present in the courtroom the entire time of the trial (in which Casey Anthony’s parents were allowed to be) and asking for a time for us to sit down and go over questions that must be asked to Trentin Ross in order to make sure that my son can answer the judge truthfully when at the end of his trial—the judge asks him how he feels about his representation and if all the questions asked to the witnesses were relevant questions in regard to his case (in which was asked by the judge at the end of Florida vs. Adam Kaufman case). Gregory Cummings had no problem asking me for question to ask the victims’ mother, but is offended by me wanting to offer up questions to ask State Prosecutor Jack Campbell. Gregory Cummings took that information in my email and shared it with State Prosecutor Jack Campbell. My son was immediately placed in solitary confinement. He’s been in solitary confinement now for 133 days. He’s been unable to have visitors and unable to make phone calls. They don’t want me to advice my son—that’s why they don’t want him to have visitors. My oldest son and I were the only people going to see my son—no one else. People placed in solitary confinement are not automatically stripped from having visitors or making phone calls.
My son and I would like for the 2nd District State Attorney and the Leon County Sheriff’s office to admit that they made a mistake in their haste to charge my son with the murders, but… State Prosecutor Jack Campbell seems to want to take his chances with putting a Fired former lead detective, Don Odham on the witness stand. Former Detective Don Odham was a disgrace to the badge (those aren’t my words—they’re his colleagues—I heard that they had an office party after he was Fired—I guess when your wife is a vice president, such as Former Detective Don Odham’s, you’ll have plenty of “Fake Friends” as long as you can provide them with services). When Former Detective Don Odham takes the witness stand, he’s going to have to explain what makes him qualified to have been the lead detective over a double homicide case. He’s going to have to remember the lies that he told. He’s going to have to decide which of the three different statements to use that he and only he took from Trentin Ross. Former Detective Don Odham stated that Trentin Ross told him that he drove my son to the victims’ residence, witnessed the murders from a far and then drove my son away from the crime scene. Former Detective Odham is going to be asked why Trentin Ross has not been charged in this double murder—considering he was a party to it. Former Detective Don Odham is going to have to answer so many questions—the public will see and hear why I’ve been scratching my head for nearly two years.
To my knowledge, Gregory Cummings didn’t take Former Detective Don Odham’s deposition. He didn’t tell me or my son that Detective Don Odham had been fired. (What kind of attorney doesn’t tell his 17-year-old client or his mother–that five months after being charged with 2 counts of 1st Degree murder and facing a life sentence in prison—that the only lead detective that lied to make it happen, has been Fired from the sheriff’s office for criminal behavior.) Gregory Cummings severely lack of communication cost my son and me—a “Hallelujah Moment.” The first night that my son and I walked into the Leon County Sheriff’s office—we stepped in there pure in heart. Immediately, Detective Don Odham did all but spit on us. When Detective Don Odham kicked me out of the sheriff’s office—forcing me to leave my son behind, this maniac was screaming and yelling at me the whole time as he escorted me from upstairs to the front door exit of the sheriff’s office. I warned him about his actions. I told him that my Father God watches over my family and to mistreat us was going to cost him. (We may all be sinners, but God has his chosen few.) How obvious—Detective Don Odham gets kicked out of the same building he kicked me out of. Now that Former Detective Don Odham no longer works for the Leon County Sheriff’s office, maybe in preparation for my son’s trial, he’s been spending all of his free time by catching up on episodes of In the Heat of the Night.
My son currently has an attorney that has been appointed to him by the Conflict Counsel’s Office. His name is Samuel Olmstead. Mr. Olmstead was court appointed to take over my son’s case shortly after my son Fired Gregory Cummings. After Mr. Olmstead took over my son’s case, it took him more than two months to meet with him. During the two months, I’d called Mr. Olmstead several times and left messages for him to call me—to no avail. I’m not surprised. I attended my son’s court management hearing in this past November hoping to meet with Mr. Olmstead (it was the 3rd court date that my son had—in which Mr. Olmstead had not been in court). Low and behold, Mr. Olmstead was not in court and Judge James Hankinson Continued about 10 or 12 of Mr. Olmstead’s cases. I wanted to get up and speak to Judge Hankinson about Mr. Olmstead’s lack of court appearances and contact with my son. But now that my son is in adult court, I humbly accept that that’s not something that I can do. But my Father can. Fortunately, there was this young lady who was a client of Mr. Olmstead’s. This young lady stood in front of Judge Hankinson, despite him telling her that no matter what she said, there was nothing that he could do, it didn’t stop her. This young lady told him every single word that I would’ve said in regards to Mr. Olmstead not being available to my son. Judge Hankinson non-chalantly responded to her by telling her that she would have to complain to his supervisor. But his response gave me some insight as to what type of judge he is. According to court documents that I’ve had an attorney view—Mr. Samuel Olmstead Conflicted off of my son’s case back in March 2011. So we’ll see what’s going on with him now.
My son and I can’t seem to cut a break in Tallahassee. When I come out of my pockets and pay an attorney for representation—we nearly get screwed. When I leave it up to the court system to appoint an attorney—we don’t know what’s going on. People say that mothers are naïve to their children’s behavior; I’m learning that I’m naïve to the people that I trust to do the right thing by my child.
I currently have a private attorney on standby in the Central Florida area (where my family and I now live). I’m working hard to get up the money to afford him/her. If anyone would like to donate money to my son’s legal defense, please go to click on DeShon’s Corner and click the donate button. Thank you in advance for your donation.