Gregory Cummings=Poor Client Services: Read the Email and You Decide

Tallahassee, FL: In February 2012, seventeen year-old DeShon Thomas was charged with the January 27, 2011 discovery of two of his deceased friends. The victims in the case was DeShon’s pregnant ex-girlfriend, 20-year-old Laqecia Herring and her 17-year-old brother, Sterling Conner Jr. The victims were found murdered in their mother’s SW Tallahassee townhouse. When Leon County Sheriff’s detectives arrived on the scene, the victims’ mother told detectives that Laqecia Herring was approximately 5 months pregnant. She later told detectives that her son, Sterling Conner Jr., was diagnosed as being bipolar. After the victims’ mother gave detectives a laundry list of possible suspects (to which both victims had recently defaulted on two different monetary incidents–the victims’ 16-year-old brother told detectives that Sterling Conner Jr. had recently been given fake money to purchase drugs; the victims’ family members told detectives that Laqecia Herring had owed a female friend and her mother about $350 for rent–Laqecia Herring had lived with the female friend and her mother for less than a month before she abruptly moved out without paying them, in which Laqecia Herring had made it clear to the two women that she had no intentions on paying them the money. Laqecia Herring’s decision to not pay the victims resulted in several heated Facebook posts to include one by the female friend in reference to Laqecia Herring that stated, “I got a hit out on this bitch.” A day before all outgoing cell phone usage from Laqecia Herring’s phone came to an abrupt end, Laqecia Herring and a posse went to the female friend and her mother’s house. On the way to the house, it was reported that Laqecia Herring warned her posse that the female friend’s mother had a gun. When the posse arrived at the female friend and her mother’s house, they were met by the female friend’s posse. Laqecia Herring’s posse got out of the car–Laqecia Herring did not. Instead, she locked all of the doors and remained in the car. However, that didn’t stop the female friend from aggressively trying to get to her–demanding that she get out of the car. Witin 48 hours of this confrontation, during the mid-morning hours on January 27, 2011 Laqecia Herring and her brother, Sterling Conner Jr. were found murdered by their mother, their mother’s girlfriend (significant other), and their 16-year-old brother. Also in the townhouse was Laqecia Herring’s toddler daughter–she was unharmed.

Laqecia Herring did not own a car. It was reported that within 48 hours before she and her brother were found murdered, she got a ride to her mother’s girlfriend’s house where she was given $5 by her mother’s girlfriend to pay the car owner gas that was used to take her to the female friend and her mother’s house to confront her about the threatening Facebook posts(the late night/ early morning hours of January 25). The distance of Laqecia Herring’s mother’s significant other’s house, the best friend and her mother’s house where the confrontation took place and the crime scene is less than five miles.

Leon County Sheriff’s detectives chose not to investigate the incident between Laqecia Herring and the recent confrontation with her friend and her best friend’s mother. Leon County Sheriff’s detectives chose not thoroughly investigate the lead that Sterling Conner Jr. had been given fake money by an adult neighbor of his mother’s girlfriend. Neither did Leon County Sheriff’s detectives investigate the other leads given to them by the victims’ family members. DeShon Thomas was not a lead given to detectives. Nobody named DeShon Thomas as a possible murder suspect. Instead, Leon County Sheriff’s detectives chose to focus on two year old, non-violent juvenile charges and acted on a hunch–not evidence–and immediately obtained a court order for DeShon’s cell phone records, as well as having his cell phone placed under GPS monitoring. The probable cause for this action was frivolous. Detectives immediately set up surveillance on DeShon. An hour or so after, when they approached DeShon, they asked him if he wanted to go to the sheriff’s office–he declined. Detectives then had another deputy take pictures of DeShon’s shoes. DeShon was not taken into custody.

The next even, when DeShon’s mother arrived in Tallahassee from being out of town, DeShon told her about the murders, the Facebook arguing that concerned DeShon since there was a possibility that Laqecia Herring was pregnant with his child and the detectives’ actions. DeShon’s mother took him to the Leon County Sheriff’s Office. There she and DeShon were met by Detective Don Odham who used racist vulgar towards them. DeShon’s mother was not allowed to accompany him while he gave a statement. When DeShon’s mother told detectives that she wanted an attorney to accompany her son–her request was ignored. From there more frivolous search warrants were approved by Assistant State Attorney Jack Campbell and signed by Judge Ronald Flurry.

Although DeShon was not charged with the murders that night, detectives were acting like vultures waiting for a human to die. Their actions were cold and calculating. They absolutely wanted DeShon to be the murderer–nothing was going to stop them from charging DeShon with the murders–not the lack of evidence–not the fact that the mother told them about one of Sterling Conner Jr.’s 16-year-old male friends who’d recently lived at the residence with Sterling during the brief time when Laqecia had moved out. Then when things didn’t go well between Sterling and the teenage boy–the boy repeatedly burglarized the victims’ residence. During one burglary, Sterling was asleep in his bed and woke up to find the teenage boy standing over him. This 16-year-old boy had a more recent juvenile record than DeShon. This 16-year-old boy had a homicidal profile. This 16-year-old boy was never questioned by Leon County Sheriff’s detectives. And a few months after DeShon was charged with the murders of Herring and Conner Jr.–this now 17-year-old teenage boy was charged with assaulting someone with a gun. This 17-year-old teenage boy–whose name was given to Leon County Sheriff’s detectives early on in a murder investigation–was sent to a juvenile facility versus being charged as an adult. As for DeShon, he was charged as an adult on a bogus charge of cultivation of marijuana and possession of drug paraphernalia.

After DeShon was in the Leon County Jail where juvenile inmates are housed, he was not provided with information as to who his court appointed attorney was–neither was the Clerk of Courts or the Criminal Conflict Office. Yet, Gregory Cummings, whom was told by DeShon’s mother that she was not going to hire an attorney until she and DeShon had an opportunity to speak with his court appointed attorney–continued to aggressively solicit her to hire him to represent his son. Gregory Cummings had previously met with DeShon’s mother and DeShon (separately). Gregory Cummings told DeShon’s mother that her son was polite–looked him in his eyes when he questioned him about his involvement–overall, Gregory Cummings stated that with his numerous years of experience of being a criminal defense attorney–he believed that DeShon was being truthful about not having any involvement with the murders. Despite Gregory Cummings evaluation of DeShon, DeShon’s mother still wanted to speak with DeShon’s court appointed attorney. However, that would never happen. A month had passed, additional charges were being filed against DeShon–and Gregory Cummings pressure for DeShon’s mother (not DeShon)to hire him–forced DeShon’s mother to take all of her savings to retain Gregory Cummings. Whereas other attorneys who DeShon’s mother had spoken with talked about how important it was to immediately hire an investigator to question witnesses–at the time of signing the contract Gregory Cummings told Deshon’s mother that the hiring of an investigator was not needed.

Gregory Cummings, a sole proprietor who works out of the comfort of his home–also is registered with the Criminal Conflict and Regional Counsel’s Office. DeShon and his mother would eventually learn that Gregory Cummings’ loyalty to Circuit Court Judge James Hankinson, Assistant State Prosecutor Jack Campbell and Leon County Sheriff Larry Campbell trumped just aboout ALL rules laid out by the Supreme Court for governing attorney-client relationships. Gregory Cummings was DeShon’s attorney for well over a year. When DeShon’s mother acted on her belief that something was not right with Greg Cummings, she advised her son to fire him (for she was only financially obligated and had stopped making payments to him). When her son fired Gregory Cummings, the Leon County Sheriff’s Office, Assistant State Prosecutor Jack Campbell and Circuit Court Judge James Hankinson retailiated by charging DeShon with solicitation to commit murder and put DeShon in solitary confinement; blocked DeShon from being able to make any phone calls or have any visitors. DeShon has been in solitary confinement for over a year and he is still not able to make any phone calls or have visitors. Because of Gregory Cummings corrupt actions, the cost of DeShon’s representation has fallen to the taxpayers. DeShon has had several court appointed attorneys since firing Gregory Cummings. Circuit Court Judge James Hankinson is no longer presiding over DeShon’s case.

The excert below is from an email sent from Gregory Cummings to DeShon’s mother. You will read where Gregory Cummings was either allowed to listen in on a jailhouse conversation between DeShon and his mother or was told about a jailhouse conversation between DeShon and his mother by a jailhouse employee. Which raises the question as to if Gregory Cummings was acting in an ethical manner, why would he need to listen in or be told about conversations between his juvenile client and his client’s mother (who signed a contract making her financially responsible)?

You do not need retain another attorney. I told Deshon you cannot fire me. That would be up to him and we talked for a while yesterday and I do not believe he wants that. I did not speak to him about you in any negative way and told him I was disappointed at the fact that you and he had an argument and one of you hung up on the other.
Deshon asked what would happen if you did not pay me any more. I told him not to worry that I was his attorney and would not withdraw this close to trial because of non payment. and that would not be an issue. And our contract allows for that. That a non payment would be an issue between me and you and would not affect my representing him.

As for representing your son in a fair and just way. He is my main concern. However, another motivating factor is my work as viewed by those involved in the judicial system. I believe I have a very good reputation for what i do and have been quite successful at times. Even when cases turned out bad for my clients or I knew exactly what their involvement was never did I not do my best and each received a fair and just representation or as the court looks at it competent representation.
Enough as to this email. I doubt I’ll respond to the others at such length.
–Also, had DeShon told Gregory Cummings about the argument that he and his mother had—DeShon would’ve told him who hung up on who. In the above excerpt Gregory Cummings states as if DeShon is his number one concern—however, after DeShon fired Gregory Cummings, DeShon’s mother looked into DeShon’s court records and saw that Gregory Cummings had not filed any documents to show a defense for DeShon—not even a Defense Witness List.

As for depositions–after Gregory Cummings was fired, he told DeShon’s mother that he’d forwarded all of DeShon’s records to the Criminal Conflict Counsel’s Office. This is the email response sent from Gregory Cummings to DeShon’s mother –keep in mind that Gregory Cummings was DeShon’s attorney for over a year and was paid nearly $30,000. (click on the link Email from Cummings 8-14-13 )


Tallahassee, FL—In the Archives for this site, there are a number of articles that discuss the crumbling foundation of Leon County Sheriff’s detectives, 2nd District State Attorney’s Office and Criminal Defense Attorney Gregory Cummings attempt to build a double murder case against 17-year-old black male college student, DeShon Thomas. Since this site’s first article, posted in April 2012, many articles have followed to show the ‘InnerWorks of Florida’s Good Ol’ Boy Network in the Capitol City’ (published June 2013). While DeShon Thomas, who is now 20-years-old, has not wavered in his fight to prove his innocence, the Leon County judicial make-up has shown unethical practice to such a degree that agents with the FBI, the FDLE, attorneys outside of Tallahassee, national news producers, and every day ordinary people find themselves scratching their heads because not only do they not want to believe that people with such authority would grossly violate an innocent teenage boy along with the trust of the citizens to whom so many look to for protection, they also don’t understand how could it be ethical for State Prosecutor Jack Campbell (the son) prosecute criminal cases within the jurisdiction of Leon County Sheriff Larry Campbell (the father). A South Florida citizen who participated in the sit-in with the Dream Defenders at Florida’s State Capitol discussed how he once worked as a consultant for a firm and when he got a job to work as a consultant for another firm, he had to wait one year before he could actually start working at the other firm. The unethical process of this case is clear. Unfortunately, in this case (and others) some of those in authority have unjustly over reached to solve this double murder case and have themselves become criminals.

What criminal is in a hurry to be caught? In the Archives under the month of July 2012, the article titled, ‘Dishonored Ex-Lead Detective in Double Murder Case Still On Assistant State Attorney’s A+ List’, it tells about how State Prosecutor Jack Campbell filed a Motion for Continuance asking the presiding judge, Judge James C. Hankinson, to grant an continuance for trial based on former Detective Don Odham having to go on a previously planned family vacation. This particular continuance was about the third motion for acontinuance on record. In this motion dated March 2012, Prosecutor Jack Campbell states that former Detective Don Odham is “a essential witness” and that proceeding with trial would be “impossible and impracticable. Also, noted in this motion is that defense attorney (Gregory Cummings) does not object to the granting of this continuance (well now we know why Cummings never objected to anything). This motion was in fact granted. An order was granted and DeShon Thomas’ trial was rescheduled for the week of August 13, 2012.

In the Archives under the month of September 2012, the article titled, ‘Game Being Played By The Assistant State Attorney’s Office: Hide and Go Seek’, it tells of how DeShon Thomas’ mother picked up on unethical practice between Criminal Defense Attorney Gregory Cummings and State Prosecutor Jack Campbell. Thomas’ mother stopped paying Gregory Cummings. And although she’d paid Cummings nearly $30,000 over the 16 months that he’d been hired to represent her son, in late July 2012, she suggested to her son to fire Cummings immediately! Thomas, who’d been in the Leon County Jail for over a year, was reluctant to fire Cummings—not because Cummings had been positively active on his case, but because he was a few weeks away from trial and did not want to start all over with a new attorney—delaying his trail. Well, Thomas’ trail was delayed. Once again, in an email to Thomas’ mother from Cummings, Cummings cited Judge Hankinson as to having to have surgery for a cancerous growth on his nose. Though there was never any legal documents filed (i.e. motion for continuance and order for continuance) Thomas’ trail was reset for the week of October 23, 2012.

Upon signing a Contract for Service between Thomas’ mother, Thomas and Cummings, Cummings promised to disclose Thomas’ cell phone records (which the State Attorney’s Office Sealed weeks before Thomas was charged with the murders) , the victims’ autopsy reports and get a sworn deposition from Trentin Ross—Thomas’ former co-worker and roommate (it wasn’t until former Det. Don Odham supposedly took an incriminating statement from Ross as to when Det. Odham authored the probable cause report that led to Thomas being charged with the murders. Det. Odham would become 2nd lead detective on the case). During the sixteen months on Thomas’ case, Cummings did not make good on any of what was asked of him. Thomas’ mother constantly asked Cummings about what he’d agreed to do but to no avail. Thomas’ mother called the District Two Medical Examiner’s Office to request the victims’ autopsy reports herself but was told that the autopsy reports had not been made public record. Thomas’ mother was told to consult with the State Attorney’s Office for further information. Through research, Thomas’ mother learned that there was no valid reason for the State Attorney’s Office to have not released the victims’ autopsy reports. According to all Leon County Sheriff’s Office Media Release, Thomas was the only person being charged with the murders. Thomas’ mother also took note that on the Entry Log sign in sheet (2 pages) for all of those entering the crime scene dated January 27, 2011 there is no entry for a representative of the District Two Medical Examiner’s Office.

In another Archived article for September 2012 titled, ‘Tallahassee Citizens FYI-Sideshow Continues’, among other things, when Cummings caught wind that Thomas’ mother had suggest he be fired off of the case, Cummings changed his whole tune regarding Thomas’ case—even telling Thomas during a conversation between he and Thomas when Thomas told him that he could not afford to pay him for his legal services—Cummings offered to continue on without pay. When Thomas told his mother of Cummings’ sudden “generosity,” Thomas’ mother suggested to her son that he “run to the hills!” She knew Cummings “smelled” for sure. Thomas did as his mother suggested. Sure enough Thomas’ mother’s intuition proved to be the right call for his best interest. Cummings had not done anything—nada—absolutely nothing—to build a defense for Thomas—thus, paving the way for the Campbell’s (father’s crew and son) to concoct a Solicitation To Commit 1st Degree Murder case against Thomas—with the target person being Thomas’ ex-coworker and former roommate, Trentin Ross (supposedly the State’s Key Witness). Fortunately, the concocted plan was in its infancy—all of the traps that they thought that they’d be able to pull off—immediately came to a halt when Cummings was fired. Thomas’ mother did not have the financial means to obtain another private attorney for her son. Thomas’ cases have since fallen on the taxpayers of Florida.

Over this last year, again—since firing Cummings—there have been several revelations as to the ethics of the Leon County Judicial make-up presiding over Thomas’ case. In June 2013, after a number of letters Thomas’ mother had been sending to Governor Rick Scott outlining high questionable actions that have taken place on her son’s cases inside the courtroom, Circuit Judge James C. Hankinson was removed as presiding judge and assigned to Judge Jackie Fulford. Although, in a letter from someone at the Governor’s Office it stated that they do not get involved with ongoing criminal cases—Thomas and his mother have no care as to whom or why Hankinson was removed—Hankinson did not protect Thomas’ eighth amendment—and that’s no acceptable.

In June 2013, nearly a year without being allowed to visit her son or communicate with him decently over the phone, Thomas’ mother reached out to the Leon County Sheriff’s Office’s Internal Affairs to inquire what would have to be done in order to visit with her son. Internal Affairs responded and Thomas’ mother re-acted. Thomas’ mother’s reaction sparked State Prosecutor Jack Campbell to immediately file a Motion To Have Court Order The Leon County Sheriff’s Office To Not Allow Visitation Privileges for DeShon Thomas. This motion was filed the day before Thomas’ mother was to visit. The motion was granted by Circuit Judge James C. Hankinson—Not the presiding Judge Jackie Fulford.

Currently, Thomas’ cases are being handled by the Criminal Conflict and Civil Regional Counsel’s Office, where Daren Shippy is the 2nd Regional Counsel to represent him. There have been approximately 5 attorneys (1 private attorney) on Thomas’ cases. Although Shippy is the only attorney that has been active on Thomas’ cases, it is clear that he too is tippy-toeing around. Shippy does not return any of Thomas’ mother’s phone calls. He does not notify any of Thomas’ relatives as to when there is a hearing set. He has not done anything to accommodate Thomas’ requests to have his family visit—or to get him out of solitary confinement—where he has been for over a year. Truly, Thomas and his family agree that Shippy’s focus should be preparing for Thomas’ trial. The issues with the preparation are the same as with Cummings—why are Thomas’ cell phone records still Sealed? Why are the victims’ autopsy reports still confidential? Why has Trentin Ross (the state’s key witness) not been deposed? To date there is still no physical, material or circumstantial evidence against Thomas. There are no sworn incriminating statements against Thomas.

On August 19, 2013 there was a hearing to discuss several motions filed by Thomas’ defense counsel. There were eight Leon County Sheriff’s law enforcement agents subpoenaed to appear—of those eight only three appeared. In absence were Deputy Pat McLeod, Deputy Tommy Gore, Deputy Brian Pearson, Lieutenant Tim Baxter and Deputy Velveeta Couch. While Thomas and his mother did not come in contact with a Deputy Velveeta Couch—they did have a verbal exchange with Deputy Clifton Couch. As reported and documented, it was just last year State Prosecutor Jack Campbell motioned the court for a continuance while former Detective Don Odham (2nd lead detective) flew off to enjoy a luxury vacation with his family—not only did Shippy not subpoena former Detective Don Odham, State Prosecutor Jack Campbell downplayed Odham’s relevancy to be a part of the trial against Thomas.

After Leon County Sheriff’s detectives were called to the scene of the double homicide, the victims’ mother and family members gave detectives a laundry list of possible suspects (DeShon was not one of them). Considering that the female victim had been arguing with another young woman on Facebook where the other young woman posted that she had a “Hit out for this bitch” and that there was verbal confrontation between the two young women over about $350 the deceased woman owed to the young woman and the young woman’s mother with 48 hours of the murders, yet, the three detectives took to the stand and testified that they did not follow-up on that situation. The young woman who’d made the threats was subpoenaed to come to the hearing but did not come.

There are a slew of other suspects who had motive to murder those two young victims. Also during the hearing, State Prosecutor Jack Campbell finally stated their motive as to why Thomas murdered the two victims—stating that the 17-year-old male victim, Sterling Conner Jr., was Thomas’ target and that his pregnant ex-girlfriend, 20-year-old Laqecia Herring, was murdered because she was “there.” Stating that the murder of Sterling Conner Jr. was gang related—that Thomas had recruited Sterling Conner Jr. into the “Blood” gang and that Thomas murdered Conner Jr. because he (Thomas) saw him (Conner Jr.) in a picture with the color black on his sleeve and that was being disrespectful to the Blood gang—because black is color that Blood gang members are not “allowed” to wear. In hearing that statement from State Prosecutor Jack Campbell it was obvious that he didn’t do his homework before making such ridiculous claims without merit. In an interview of LaShonda Perkins, the victims’ mother’s significant other, taken by Detective McBride, Perkins supposedly tells McBride that it is her “understanding that Thomas is a gang member. She advised that he wears the red and black colors and that he may be in the “blood gang.” She is assuming that because everything that he (Thomas) wears is red and black.” Which raises the question as to if he wears red and black—why would he murder Conner Jr. for wearing black anywhere? And then turn around and murder his ex-girlfriend of 3 months and their possible unborn daughter—yet, leave Herring’s toddler daughter unharmed. Both Thomas and Conner Jr. were under the supervision of the Department of Juvenile Justice. Neither Thomas nor Conner Jr. were listed as gang members or had ever been referred to any Anti-Gang programs.

At the time Thomas was charged with the murders, he had not had any run-ins with law enforcement in over a year. Thomas had been working part-time at Taco Bell for over a year and was in his 3rd semester as a college freshman at Tallahassee Community College. It is rather sickening to watch State Prosecutor Jack Campbell lust to prosecute a young black male who was 17-years-old and doing what is asked for by every parent—get an education and work. Thomas may not have been an angel—but some of those within the Leon County Sheriff’s and the District Two State Attorney’s Office—with State Prosecutor Jack Campbell leading the pack—have proven—straight up documented—their Evil ways.

As Thomas’ mother used to tell him, “No matter what—you’ll have to listen to somebody—someday!” She is quick to state for all of those who have LIED, fabricated evidence, falsified documents, violated her and her son’s rights—“There’s a place for people like you—and there’s an everlasting burn.”