WCTV—Tallahassee’s SLIMMEST News Station—Puts Female College Student in the Crosshairs of a Deranged Murderer

People have long said that Sheriff Larry Campbell and State Attorney Willie Meggs are running their agencies like they’re in the 1970s—clearly, WCTV is operating under the same false pretenses.

Do you remember back when—the slimmest news station with the slimmest reporter was top rated? Well—that was back then. Over the years, the majority of people have grown to really care about their communities and how the news is delivered to them. Citizens of Tallahassee should especially care about how their news is delivered because it’s made up of very small communities. Through social media, people are able to connect with anyone by simply typing in their name. And what person (young and old) aren’t connected to a social media website? For most college students—to have a social media account is a requirement.

As if Leon County Sheriff Larry Campbell and 2nd District State Attorney Willie Meggs’ intimidation and fear tactics aren’t enough for out-of-town/out-of-state/ local college students to endure, on October 17, 2013 WCTV News Reporter Julie Montanaro published the name of a young female college student who testified for the defense in a double murder trial.

This young female college student may have been one of the last people to see her 17-year-old neighbor alive—along with his soon to be murderer. This female college student’s testimony was very creditable. Three years earlier, when she was 19-years-old, the statement that she’d given to the Leon County Sheriff’s Office on January 27, 2011 didn’t fall in alignment with who Leon County Sheriff’s detectives had theorized was the murderer of the victims —so her eyewitness accounts fell flat. Leon County Sheriff Larry Campbell, who was at the crime scene the day the victims had been found murdered—alongside of his detectives—did not put out a public safety notice or ask the victims’ family or the community for tips in accordance with the young woman’s description of the possible murderer.

The State of Florida vs. DeShon Thomas double murder trial opened on October 15, 2013. DeShon Thomas was 17-years-old, a freshman at Tallahassee Community College and an employee at Taco Bell when he was charged with the murders of his pregnant 20-year-old ex-girlfriend, Laqecia Herring and her 17-year-old brother, Sterling Conner Jr. who was diagnosed as bipolar.

Herring and Conner Jr. were found murdered in their mother’s townhouse located in the Wolf Creek townhouse community by their mother, 16-year-old brother and their mother’s girlfriend (significant other) during the mid-morning hours on January 27, 2011. Also in the townhouse was Herring’s toddler daughter—she was found unharmed. After Leon County Sheriff deputies arrived at the crime scene, they launched a neighborhood canvas. According to police reports, none of the neighbors had any significant information.

Hours after detectives ended the neighborhood canvas, a 19-year-old female college student called into the Leon County Sheriff’s Office to report what/who she’d seen at her neighbor’s townhouse the night of January 26, 2011 and then again during the early evening hours on January 27, 2011. (This young female was not at home during the time of the neighborhood canvas.) Former Leon County Sheriff’s Deputy Clifton Couch responded to the residence of this young female and took her statement.

In her statement she basically states that it wasn’t until the early evening hours of January 27, 2011 when she returned home, as to when she learned that the townhouse where Sterling lived was now a crime scene—and that Sterling and his older sister had been murdered. She gave a very detailed account of what/who she’d seen at the victims’ townhouse while out walking her poodle on the night of January 26, 2011. She also gave a very vivid description of the male being allowed to enter into the victims’ townhouse by Sterling the night of January 26, 2011. This young woman stated that she’d again saw the male who may have been the murderer at the victims’ townhouse on January 27, 2011. This time he was lingering around the townhouse. She said when the male made eye contact with her, she ran into her townhouse. Overwhelmed by fear, she called the Leon County Sheriff’s Office to report what she’d witnessed.

Why did her statement fall flat? Again, because her statement did not support who Leon County Sheriff and the State Attorney’s Office’s theorized as to who had committed the murders—as SGT. Ganey stated under oath, “the double murder investigation centered on DeShon Thomas.”

By the time this eyewitness called the Leon County Sheriff’s Office, the Leon County Sheriff’s Office had already obtained a Court Order for DeShon’s Thomas’ cell phone records along with having his cell phone carrier (AT&T) GPS track his cell phone. Despite having all of DeShon’s contact information (including his mother’s contact information) in addition to knowing his place of employment—detectives were building their case against DeShon Thomas without making contact with him. So regardless as to who or what other statements were being made—even those made by the victims’ mother and other relatives—if their statements didn’t incriminate DeShon Thomas—then they were worthless to the Leon County Sheriff’s Office—at least for the time being.

On February 3, 2011 most of the Leon County Sheriff’s deputies who’d been assigned to perform different tasks in relation to investigating DeShon Thomas as the murderer of Laqecia Herring and Sterling Conner Jr. began to conclude their investigation. They basically reported not having sufficient evidence connecting DeShon Thomas to the double murders. There was no physical, material or circumstantial evidence to show that DeShon was the murderer. There was no motive for DeShon to commit the murders. A deputy who’d been pursuing DeShon’s co-worker/roommate, 21-year-old Trentin Ross, for over a week in an effort to get any incriminating evidence or an incriminating statement about DeShon—also concluded his investigation without sufficient cause to charge DeShon. (Not even half of these detectives were called to testify at trial).

The lead detective on the case, who was a female, began to follow-up on much more significant leads that had been given to her by the victims’ mother and brother (there were plenty of other people to investigate). So when the majority of the deputies pulled away from DeShon, what did Sheriff Larry Campbell do? —He replaced the female lead detective with a reserve deputy—Don Odham—a close personal friend of the Campbell family—who has a reputation of lying under oath.

On February 7, 2011 in a Probable Cause Report prepared by Don Odham, he states that on February 4, 2011 (the day after all of the other certified deputies concluded their investigation of DeShon Thomas) Trentin Ross, voluntarily came into the Leon County Sheriff’s Office and gave him (Odham) incriminating statements about his (Ross) and DeShon’s whereabouts/ activity during the early morning hours on January 27, 2011. Trentin Ross’ statements led to DeShon Thomas being charged with two counts of 1st Degree murder.

On October 17, 2011 the young female college student/ eyewitness to what/ who she’d seen at the victims’ residence bravely took the stand in Leon County Courtroom 3G and testified to the statement that she’d given former Leon County Sheriff’s Deputy Clifton Couch nearly 3 years earlier. (It was reported that Clifton Couch abruptly resigned from the sheriff’s office—he was not subpoenaed to testify).

While covering the trial, WCTV protected the identity (face) of Trentin Ross, who was State Prosecutor Jack Campbell’s “key witness.” On the other hand, they exploited the brave young female college student. This young woman answered to Defense Regional Counsel Daren Shippy’s call to come to the Leon County Courthouse and swear under oath as to what she’d seen with her own two eyes during the night of January 26, 2011 and thereafter. Shippy’s call to duty is what all officials who sincerely care about their communities ask of their citizens—in conjunction with—if you witness a crime or suspect that you may have witnessed a crime—immediately report it to your local law enforcement agency. A lot of witnesses choose to be anonymous. Whether or not this witness chose to be anonymous—well let’s say this—she didn’t know that her name was published on wctv.tv.

And even worst–at the time WCTV News Reporter Julie Montanaro published this young female college student’s name, along with a lot of her detailed testimony—which vividly described the Black male and what he was wearing on the night of January 26, 2011—the jury had not even began deliberating the case. Regional Counsel Daren Shippy was still calling witnesses to the stand. So if anything—had DeShon Thomas been found not guilty—Julie Montanaro had already put the message out there to the deranged murderer—that hey—someone saw you at the victims’ residence the night of the murders—so you better burn those clothes that you were wearing and lay low for awhile (in which she actually did put the message out there to the deranged murderer because DeShon Thomas is not guilty! DeShon Thomas is not the murderer!)

Leon County Sheriff and the State Attorney’s Office recruitment of Julie Montanaro really was to assist them with delivering a message to the community (as a reinforcement tactic)—their message, “If you’re not for us, then you’re against us and we’ll do whatever it takes to expose and destroy you—no matter who you are or what your age.”

Julie Montanaro, being the mother of a daughter, should’ve known better. She should’ve never published that young female college student’s name. When it comes to young college students, Leon County Sheriff and the State Attorney’s Office have no regard for their well being—i.e. Rachel Hoffman. In turn, who pays for their disregard? The citizens of Tallahassee.

Side Note: The male described by the female college student fit the exact description of Sterling’s friend whom his mother told detectives had been living at the residence with Sterling. Shortly before the murders, Sterling had made this male get out of the townhouse. The male got out but continued to burglarize the residence. Shortly before the murders, Sterling told his mother about the burglaries—particularly about being home alone fast asleep and then waking up to find this male standing over him. Leon County Sheriff’s detectives were aware that Sterling and this male had gotten into a physical fight shortly before the murders—but seemed to have made up. Sterling trusted whomever he was seen letting into their townhouse the night of January 26, 2011.

Another friend of Sterling’s told detectives that before Sterling’s murder, Sterling was in possession of a .38 caliber gun. (This is the same type of gun used in the murders). The murder weapon was never recovered—not in this case anyway. But what did occur months later—after the murders—the male that had stood over Sterling as he slept and had gotten into a physical fight with Sterling shortly before he was murdered —was charged with assaulting someone with a gun. This male, who was 17-years-old has the juvenile profile of being homicidal. This male also had an extensive juvenile record. After assaulting someone with a gun—charges that could’ve been sent over to Adult court, the charges were left in the Juvenile court. Why? More than likely to keep the details of the case confidential. Why? Because this juvenile male’s name had been immediately given to detectives by the victims’ relatives but because he was not who detectives theorized was responsible for committing the murders—the victims’ relatives lead fell flat—allowing this male to claim another victim—this time it was an assault and not a murder.

This male was recently let out of whatever juvenile facility he was sent too. So it’s just a matter of time before he claims another victim in some sorts. Leon County Sheriff’s record show that they breed criminals—so it’s just a matter of time for this male teen who thinks that he’s gotten away with double murder to be standing before a judge.