On Monday, October 14, 2013 jury selection in the State of Florida vs. DeShon Thomas began. When State Prosecutor Jack Campbell took to the podium to address the 50 potential jurors he opened up by saying, “No one can go back on January 26th or 27th …” (referring to the timeframe in which pregnant 20-year-old Laqecia Herring and her 17-year-old brother Sterling Conner Jr. were murdered). (At this point–for those who need to be guided—please go to this blogs archive 2012 see article titled, ‘Game Being Played By the Assistant State Attorney’s Office: Hide and Go Seek’ ).
Any experienced lead detective on a homicide case (let alone a double homicide case) will tell you that it is very important to secure a timeline of events leading up to the murder(s).
It is a proven fact that on January 26, 2011 17-year-old DeShon Thomas was at work (19 miles away from the crime scene). According to DeShon Thomas’ timesheet he clocked into work on January 26, 2011 at 1805 and he clocked out on January 27, 2011 at 1:30 a.m.
In the Leon County Sheriff’s Office Discovery Report it states that the last outgoing activity from the female victim’s cell phone was on January 26, 2011 at 10:59 p.m. What the Discovery Report does not state is when was the last incoming activity accepted of her cell phone. According to what detectives transcribed from Herring’s cell phone—at 9:43 p.m. there’s a text to Uncle Stack about she and her mother meeting him in Jacksonville (a tripped that they’d planned to take the next day). LCSO does not show if/ when that text was responded to. There’s an incoming phone call to her phone at 10:50 p.m. from Kevin listed but does not state if she answered the call/the duration of the call.
After finding her two older children deceased, their mother told detectives that her daughter (the female victim) and her granddaughter (the female victim’s year-old daughter) had been with her for the most part of the day on January 26, 2011. She stated that she’d dropped her daughter and granddaughter off at the townhouse around 10 p.m. She stated that they’d all gone inside of the townhouse to which her daughter began to cook dinner while she was there. She also stated that her 17-year-old son, Sterling Conner Jr. was not at the residence at that time. She went on to say that she left the residence at 10:30 p.m. and did not return to the residence until the following morning.
What is not stated in her report is that she searched the entire two-story 3 bedroom 2 ½ bathrooms with a laundryroom and a single car garage to ensure that her son was not in the townhouse. Possibly already deceased—body hidden under the same blankets to which he was discovered wrapped in.
October 15, 2013 the victims’ mother, Tracy Bush testified that her son was not at home the evening of January 26, 2011 when she took her daughter and granddaughter into the residence. Again, Ms. Bush was not asked by State Prosecutor Jack Campbell or Regional Counsel—defense attorney Daren Shippy—if she’d checked the entire house to ensure that her son, Sterling Conner Jr. was not in the residence.
During Crime Scene Detective Fred Smelt’s testimony State Prosecutor Jack Campbell showed a video recording of the crime scene shot by someone with Crime Scene Unit. At one point in the video, the person with the video camera shows the crime scene from the top of the stairs—giving a “birds eye” view of the livingroom to which both Herring and Conner Jr. were found (Herring was found sitting slumped over in a chair and Conner Jr. was found near her feet wrapped in two comforters—due to the fact that Herring was sitting in a comfortable position (one of her legs bent under the other) everybody agrees that Herring appeared to be caught completely off guard when she was shot in the head. Directly in the lens of this “Birds eye” view of the livingroom is Herring sitting in the chair. Herring was shot in the top of her head. The same as the Crime Scene Unit took the position from the top of the stairs to shoot that “Birds eye” view of the livingroom—a murderer hiding upstairs in their residence could’ve took aim and fired a single bullet into Herring’s head.
After the much anticipated time of wanting to hear from Trentin Ross (the state’s “key” witness), Ross also took to the stand and was fed his previous statement from February 4, 2011 the day that he (Ross) supposedly voluntarily gave incriminating statements that led to charging DeShon Thomas with the murders.
Ross’ testified that he and Thomas worked together at Taco Bell on Capital Circle N.E. On January 26, 2011 Thomas went to work during the mid-evening hours and Ross did not have to work at all that day. Ross stated that he consumed 4 big bottles of Vodka and smoked a lot of marijuana that day. He stated that he did not know what time Thomas got home the morning of January 27, 2011. DeShon Thomas, who did not have a car, had been dropped off at Ross’ residence by a co-worker after ending his shift at 1:30 a.m. Although Ross stated that he was drunk and could barely function—he admits that he sat in the car and heard DeShon Thomas put guns into the wheel-well of his girlfriend’s car and then he (Ross) drove DeShon Thomas to several places including near the victims residence—where he parked in a dark driveway across from the victims’ residence. Ross stated that he didn’t know DeShon Thomas was going to murder the victims—yet he heard two gunshots—received a text message from DeShon Thomas asking about the clearance of Highway 20 (where Ross was sitting in the car waiting)—and quickly reacted to drive away when he saw DeShon Thomas running towards the car. From there he drove DeShon Thomas to the Family Dollars located less than a half mile from the victims’ residence to drop something in the dumpster and then to other locations before driving back to his (Ross’) apartment. Ross never testified to support Chief Assistant Georgia Cappleman’s March 2011 statement about a witness seeing DeShon Thomas go into the victims’ residence with a 9mm pistol and the bullets from his pistol were those that murdered the victims.
Ross also testified about a Tech 9mm that is NOT the murder weapon.
Immediately after the murders, Leon County Sheriff’s Detectives had concluded that the victims were murdered with a 9mm. This information was used to obtain search warrants against DeShon Thomas; it was used in the Probable Cause Report, it was used in public statements to the media—the case against DeShon Thomas was built on his (Thomas’) use of a 9mm—DESPITE the victims’ autopsy that was conducted the next day, DESPITE FDLE providing the Leon County Sheriff’s Office with a laboratory report dated February 17, 2011 which stated that the projectiles were fired from a 38/357 caliber handgun—both the Leon County Sheriff’s Office and the State Attorney’s Office held their theory that the victims were murdered with a 9mm.
Now, that DeShon Thomas’ case is at trial, the mentioning of a .38 caliber revolver at some point on January 26 and 27, 2011 has seemed to dominate the state’s case.