Tallahassee, FL—It took State Attorney Willie Meggs and State Prosecutor Jack Campbell nearly three years to convict my son 17-year-old DeShon Thomas to Two Life Sentences Plus 30 years and it had nothing to do with the collection of evidence or a prolonged wait for test results.
On January 27, 2011 when the Leon County Sheriff’s Office received a 911 Call about a double homicide in southwest Tallahassee—the Leon County Sheriff’s Office responded—in their response they botched the crime scene and the investigation.
They botched the crime scene by entering the victims’ residence through a possible point of exit for the murderer and they botched the investigation by acting on a hunch and focusing all of their resources and detectives on 17-year-old full-time Tallahassee Community College Student DeShon Thomas. (DeShon worked at Taco Bell nearly 35 hours a week and was temporarily living with his co-worker 21-year-old Trentin Ross.) Soon after detectives arrived at the crime scene, the Leon County Sheriff’s Office went as far as falsifying court documents stating that there was a “Clear Connection” of DeShon being involved in criminal activity in order to obtain a Court Order for DeShon’s AT&T cell phone records and to have AT&T place DeShon on GPS Tracking via his cell phone and report DeShon’s whereabouts to the Leon County Sheriff’s Office and the Tallahassee Police Department every 15 minutes. (Judge Ronald Flury granted the Order.) When detectives received information regarding DeShon’s whereabouts, among other things—they asked DeShon if he wanted to come give a statement in regards to the double homicide, DeShon declined—and he was free to go—no arrest—no “Clear Connection” to have DeShon arrested. The Leon County Sheriff’s Office then obtained a Court Order to have DeShon’s AT&T cell phone records Sealed. (Again, Judge Ronald Flury granted the Order.)
The next day, on January 28, 2011 after DeShon informed me about the incident with Leon County Sheriff Detectives, I took DeShon into the Leon County Sheriff’s Office for us to give a statement. (The victims of the double homicide were DeShon’s pregnant ex-girlfreind 20-year-old Laqecia Herring and her 17-year-old brother Sterling Conner Jr. (Ms. Herring, who was the mother of a toddler, ended the six weeks relationship with DeShon three months prior to the murders. While DeShon was not 100% sure that he’d fathered Ms. Herring’s unborn baby, DeShon, my family and I gave our support to Ms. Herring.) Since I’d spoken with Ms. Herring within a few days of her murder, I thought that maybe I could’ve been of some help. I did not personally know her brother Sterling but I’d met him. The night before the victims were found murdered (January 26, 2011), DeShon and Ms. Herring had been texting back and forth while DeShon was at work. DeShon texted Ms. Herring asking about death threats that Ms. Herring (and his unborn baby) had received on Facebook. Ms. Herring texted him that she owed the woman and the woman’s mother some money and had no plans on paying them and the woman was mad. As a parent, I thought this information should be told to detectives. Despite there being Public threat agains Ms. Herring’s life, detectives had already pinned DeShon as the murderer. When “Detective” Odham refused to allow me to accompany DeShon while he gave a statement, I invoked DeShon’s Miranda Rights—I was completely ignored and DeShon was taken away.
A few hours later I was allowed to accompany DeShon in an interview room. “Detective” Odham deadbolt locked DeShon and I in the room. I could not believe that we were being held against our will—DeShon had not been charged with anything. When I’d decided enough was enough, “Detective” Odham kicked me out of the Leon County Sheriff’s Office and refused to allow DeShon to leave with me. While other detectives and uniformed deputies stood by stoic, “Detective” Odham escorted me down the stairwell and out of the building. When I passed “Detective” Odham to walk out of the doors, “Detective” Odham spit in my hair. It was his final attempt to provoke me to give him a reason to act out of my character in order for him to arrest me. It was clear from the beginning of our (DeShon and me) first encounter that “Detective” Odham had an overwhelming “Itch” to make an arrest.
Not long after I returned to my Tallahassee home that had been on the market for sale, I received a phone call to come pick DeShon up from the Juvenile Assessment Center. DeShon had not been charged with anything in connection with the murders. Instead, DeShon had been charged with 5 pots of soil that had marijuana stems sprouting from them—Leon County Sheriff’s Detectives had found this grow in Trentin Ross’ bedroom closet. (It took DeShon to appear before a juvenile court judge 3 times before the Judge Karen Gievers finally found probable cause for the Cultivation of Marijana charges to stick. Detective Odham was at the finally court appearance. For Cultivation of Marijuana—DeShon was charged as an Adult.)
Ten days after the murders, on February 7, 2011 “Detective” Odham drafted a Summary of Offense and Probable Cause for Two Counts of First Degree Murder charging 17-year-old DeShon with the murders—using incriminating statements from Trentin Ross—DeShon’s disgruntle co-worker/ roommate. (Mr. Ross, who did not have a prior criminal record, also had been charged with Cultivation of Marijuana. Mr. Ross also knew that DeShon had a sexual encounter with his girlfriend that took place in Mr. Ross’ one-bedroom apartment when Mr. Ross was not at home—a clear sign of malice.) “Detective” Odham’s Probable Cause was approved by State Prosecutor Jack Campbell. State Prosecutor Jack Campbell is the son of Leon County Sheriff Larry Campbell. State Prosecutor Jack Campbell received Judge Nina Ashenafi-Richardson’s signature for Approval of the Probable Cause and for the Arrest Warrant.
For nearly three years DeShon’s case process would go through several rollercoaster sharp turns and steep drops. One being, “Detective” Odham was not a full-time Certified Leon County Sheriff’s Deputy—was not on the payroll—he was a Reserve Deputy—a volunteer. “Detective” Odham was not the Lead Detective on the double homicide case at the time of getting State Prosecutor Jack Campbell’s approval for the Probable Cause charging DeShon with the murder—instead, Leon County Sheriff Larry Campbell allowed Reserve Deputy Don Odham to replace the Lead Detective on the double homicide case—full-time Certified Deputy Melinda McBride. Detective Melinda McBride and her team of other full-time Certified law enforcement officers had aggressively investigated DeShon—including having had questioned Mr. Ross and Mr. Ross’ girlfriend. Detectives were unable to show a “Clear Connection” to prepare Probable Cause to have DeShon charged with the murders. In fact, in Lead Detective McBride’s report, her statement shows that “Detective” Odham was not being truthful. Regardless as to what Lead Detective McBride reported, Leon County Sheriff Larry Campbell, his son State Prosecutor Jack Campbell and State Attorney Willie Meggs presented Don Odham to the Second Judicial Circuit Courts as a creditable Leon County Sheriff’s Detective when in fact Don Odham was not creditable and was not a Leon County Sheriff’s Detective. Leon County Sheriff Larry Campbell, State Prosecutor Jack Campbell, State Attorney Willie Meggs knowingly approved/signed false court documents prepared by Don Odham identifying himself as a Leon County Sheriff’s Detective—a clear Breach of Public Trust.
DeShon’s case process was plagued with numerous acts of misconduct and violations of DeShon’s Civil Rights. After many episodes of confusion, in March 2011 I hire a private attorney by the name of Gregory Cummings as DeShon’s defense attorney. Over sixteen months—DeShon had four trial dates come and go—at every trial date State Prosecutor Jack Campbell would file a Motion for Continuance. In July 2012 I’d had enough of Mr. Cummings—Mr. Cummings had promised to have DeShon take a polygraph test—that never happened. Mr. Cummings, who was a sole proprietor without a paralegal, refused to allow me to hire a private investigator to assist him on the case. Mr. Cummings never filed motions to have DeShon’s AT&T cell phone records UnSealed or provided to DeShon. Neither did Mr. Cummings provide DeShon with the victims’ autopsy reports or make the victims’ autopsy reports Public record. Mr. Cummings had not deposed Trentin Ross, Don Odham or any of the others who played a major role in the double murder investigation. There was a “Clear Connection” showing that Mr. Cummings and State Prosecutor Jack Campbell were working together to conceal evidence that could exonerate DeShon. I immediately filed a complaint against Mr. Cummings with The Florida Bar. DeShon and I fired Mr. Cummings. At the time of firing Mr. Cummings, I’d paid Mr. Cummings $29850 of the $50000 that Mr. Cummings was charging for his services.
In retaliation for DeShon firing Mr. Cummings, State Attorney Willie Meggs filed Solicitiation to Commit 1st Degree Murder charges against DeShon—DeShon was thrown into solitary confinement where all of his phone and visitation privileges had been taken away. In a press conference, State Attorney Willie Meggs stated that DeShon had solicited an inmate by the name of Dawuan Williams to murder Trentin Ross—the key witness in the double murder case against him. State Attorney Willie Meggs made statements to make the Public believe that Dawuan Williams, who was described as the “Hitman,” had been arrested for his role in the solicitation—when in fact Dawuan Williams had not been arrested at all.
Twenty-nine year-old Dawaun Williams was brought to the Leon County Jail in May 2012 after being tracked down and arrested by the Tifton County Sheriff’s Office in Tifton, GA and the Southeast Regional Task Force. Dawaun Williams had two arrest warrants out of Tallahassee for two Armed Bank Robberies (one being investigated under the jurisdiction of the Tallahassee Police Department and another under the jurisdiction of the Leon County Sheriff’s Office). Within two months of being in the Leon County Jail, Dawuan Williams was back on the streets and being financially supported by the State Attorney’s Office and the Leon County Sheriff’s Office. When State Attorney Willie Meggs gave the press conference announcing DeShon’s new charge of solicitation and Dawuan Williams being the “Hitman,” Dawuan Williams had been out of the Leon County Jail for over a month and had already received money from the State Attorney’s Office and the Leon County Sheriff’s Office. Since there was no re-arrest of Dawuan Williams, while back out in the community, just a few months later, in a neighboring county, Dawuan Williams was arrested for Home Invasion Armed Robbery with Kidnapping, Assault with a Firearm and a slew of other charges involving violence.
Two months before DeShon’s went on trial for the murders, State Prosecutor Jack Campbell had a slip of the tongue and admitted that he requested for State Attorney Investigator Jason Newlin to go to the Leon County Jail to make contact with Dawuan Williams. State Attorney Investigator Jason Newlin supported State Prosecutor Jack Campbell’s accounts. Up until State Prosecutor Jack Campbell’s slip of the tongue, it had been reported that an anonymous caller—female caller—had been contacted by Dawuan Williams and Mr. Williams asked her to contact State Attorney Investigator Jason Newlin—which is what initiated the solicitation investigation. Within a few hours of State Attorney Investigator Jason Newlin’s first meeting with Mr. Williams, Mr. Williams was a free man. None of the staff at the Leon County Jail was asked to testify about DeShon having had solicited Mr. Williams—therefore it is believed that State Prosecutor Jack Campbell was operating his own scheme to have DeShon charged with Solicitation to Commit 1st Degree Murder. As the son of Leon County Sheriff Larry Campbell, more than likely, State Prosecutor Jack Campbell has extensive knowledge of the Standard of Operating Procedures at the Leon County Jail. Leon County Sheriff Larry Campbell served as Leon County Undersheriff for several years and has worked with other local law enforcement agencies—including the FDLE. State Prosecutor Jack Campbell plotted with State Attorney Investigator Jason Newlin to commit mail fraud and have a Leon County Sheriff’s Deputy by the name of Ronald O’Brien, who did not work in the Leon County Jail, to smuggle contraband into the jail.
On October 16, 2013 as DeShon entering his 3rd day of trial for Two Counts of 1st Degree Murder and Solicitation to Commit 1st Degree Murder State Prosecutor Jack Campbell called Dr. Anthony Clark with the District Two Medical Examiner’s Office. Dr. Clark testified that he had not gone to the crime scene on the day of the victims being found. Dr. Clark testified that he used photos of the crime scene as a part of his report—which he conducted the autopsy on both victims the day following the initial start of the investigation. In Dr. Clark’s testimony, he described in great detail the three stages of Rigor Mortis—slight, moderate, and full. While Dr. Clark testified that both victims were in the slight stage of Rigor Mortis, in the few pages of the victims’ autopsy reports that I received from Mr. Cummings nearly a year and half earlier, Dr. Clark reported the victims of being in different stages of Rigor Mortis—with the male victim being in “moderate to full.” The “moderate to full” stage of Rigor Mortis completely exonerates DeShon as being the murderer because according to Dr. Clark’s own testimony, the “moderate to full stage occurs after the victim has been deceased for twelve (12) hours.” DeShon did not get off from work until 1:30 a.m. on the morning of January 27, 2011. The victims were found murdered the morning of January 27, 2011 around 10:15 a.m. (a 9 hours difference). Furthermore, DeShon’s worked and lived nearly 19 miles away from the victims’ residence. Not only did DeShon not have a car—his co-worker and manager told detectives that DeShon worked through his entire shift.
In the Summary of Offense and Probable Cause for Two Counts of 1st Degree Murder prepared by “Detective” Don Odham and approved by State Prosecutor Jack Campbell, Trentin Ross’ incriminating statements put both Trentin Ross and DeShon at the crime scene during the early morning hours of January 27, 2011 around 4 a.m. Also, in the Probable Cause and several legal documents provided to the courts by the Leon County Sheriff’s Office—stated that DeShon’s AT&T cell phone records placed DeShon’s cell phone in the area of the victims’ residence where a text message was sent from DeShon’s cell phone to Trentin Ross’ cell phone while DeShon was inside the victims’ residence at 4:14 a.m. Trentin Ross was sitting outside in his girlfriend’s car (Ross’ girlfriend) waiting on DeShon. (Trentin Ross has not been charged with anything in connection with the murders.)
Dr. Clark committed Perjury in order to deceive the jury and have DeShon convicted. (DeShon went on trial without his cell phone records and the victims’ autopsy reports ever being disclosed to him and the Public.)
While The Florida Bar stated that they did not find where Mr. Cummings had violated any of their rules, both private and public attorneys across the State of Florida have stated that they hadn’t seen any case like DeShon’s in their career of practicing law. For over two years nothing had been filed to show a legal defense for DeShon. A clear sign that the Second Judicial Circuit in Leon County is operating in time period where racism and conspiracies went undetected.
Governor Rick Scott, Attorney General Pam Bondi and the Florida Department of Law Enforcement were informed of nearly every false document filed with the courts by both State Prosecutor Jack Campbell and Regional Counsel Daren Shippy (DeShon’s final court appointed attorney), as well as every violation of DeShon’s Civil Rights—including those violations committed by Circuit Judge James C. Hankinson who was replaced after being on DeShon’s case for over two years—who also actively participated in conspiring to have DeShon convicted. The many, many acts of misconduct and Perjury committed by officials were allowed to play out in court under Circuit Judge Jackie Fulford without any objection by her or the defense. When those at the highest level of government failed to open a criminal investigation into the matter—I receive a letter from the Department of Health threatening to charge me for violating Florida Statutes regarding confidentiality after I’d submitted a few pages of the victims’ autopsy report to support my complaint to show where Dr. Clark committed Perjury.