Tallahassee, FL— Second Circuit State Attorney Willie Meggs, a Tallahassee native, has been in office for over 25 years. Leon County Sheriff Larry Campbell, a Jacksonville native, has been involved in law enforcement in Tallahassee for over 50 years. Sheriff Campbell who attended the FBI Academy, who worked for the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, and who served as Leon County Undersheriff before becoming Leon County Sheriff, has built a solid bridge relationship with State Attorney Willie Meggs. So much so, that Leon County Sheriff Larry Campbell’s forty-three year old son, Assistant State Attorney Jack Campbell, has worked for Willie Meggs’ Office for over ten years; and Willie Meggs’ son is a Leon County Sheriff’s Deputy.
Apparently, Florida Sunshine laws does not prohibit family members working in different government agencies, however, most, if not all, Florida citizens will agree that it is HIGHLY unethical for State Attorney Willie Meggs to allow Assistant State Attorney Jack Campbell to prosecute criminal cases that the Leon County Sheriff Larry Campbell has jurisdiction. State Attorney Willie Meggs’ Office is responsible for six counties in the Florida panhandle. The Leon County Sheriff’s Office, which is located in Tallahassee, is just one of seven law enforcement agencies in Tallahassee’s 103.1 square miles.
The Tallahassee Police Department has had a number of different people hold the position Chief of Police over the past 10 years. Just recently, in December 2013, the Tallahassee Police Department hired a new Police Chief. This unstable position at the Tallahassee Police Department, has allowed State Attorney Willie Meggs and Leon County Sheriff Larry Campbell to act unethically. Leon County Sheriff Larry Campbell has allowed his office to investigate crimes outside of their jurisdiction in a “Bullyish” manner. And State Attorney Willie Meggs has supported those investigations.
On May 2, 2010, thirteen-year-old Darrielle Copeland was the passenger in her mother’s car when a 3 ton SUV, being driven by a Leon County Sheriff’s Deputy’s wife, barreled through a red light and T-boned Darrielle’s mother’s car. Darrielle’s mother and brother were significantly injured. Unfortunately, Darrielle Copeland, a promising basketball player at Florida High, passed away.
Three different law enforcement agencies responded to the scene of the accident. The Tallahassee Police Department, the Florida Highway Patrol and the Leon County Sheriff’s Office were all on hand. The jurisdiction belonged to the Tallahassee Police Department—in which they were the first to arrive on the scene. It’s been reported that when the Leon County Sheriff’s Office arrived, the Tallahassee Police Department and the Florida Highway Patrol were instructed to direct traffic, while the Leon County Sheriff’s Office took over the investigation of the accident.
It’s been reported, despite several factors that proved to show that the Leon County Sheriff’s Deputy’s wife was driving reckless, including having drugs in her system, 2nd Circuit State Attorney Willie Meggs refused to bring about charges. The woman that took Darrielle from her loving family received two citations—one for running a red light and another for careless driving. Leaving Darrielle’s family traumatized forever! NO JUSTICE!!!!
On January 28, 2011, seventeen-year-old DeShon Thomas and his mother walked into the Leon County Sheriff’s Office to give a voluntary statement to a detective in order to assist in a double homicide investigation that had began the previous day. DeShon’s mother specifically asked to speak with a detective. DeShon and his mother were approached in the lobby by an overweight “Loud Mouth” white man and two other white men who appeared to be very timid. All of the men were dressed in plain clothes. The “Loud Mouth” white man was very racist, and clearly didn’t have a care for Civil Rights laws. The “Loud Mouth” white man literally used his body to block DeShon’s mother from getting onto the elevator with her son as she and her son wanted to go give statements. This “Loud Mouth” white man was Detective Don Odham. Detective Don Odham blocked DeShon’s mother out of the elevator until the elevator doors closed. DeShon’s mother informed the Deputy on Duty in the lobby that she was invoked her son’s Miranda Rights. The deputy called and informed the deputies—DeShon’s mother was ignored.
A number of things that could’ve been avoided took place during the seven hours of DeShon and his mother being illegally detained at the Leon County Sheriff’s Office. When Detective Don Odham became angry with DeShon’s mother for directing her son to “Let’s go,” Detective Don Odham placed DeShon under arrest and kicked DeShon’s mother out of the Leon County Sheriff’s Office. While DeShon was not charged with the murders, DeShon was served with several search warrants for his finger prints, photographs, and other personals.
Ten days later, DeShon was charged with Two Counts of 1st Degree Murder. The Summary of Offense for Two Counts of 1st Degree Murder and Probable Cause Report was drafted and filed by Detective Don Odham. In the report, Detective Don Odham stated that he’d received voluntary statements from Trentin Ross. DeShon’s co-worker/roommate (DeShon’s permanent residence was not with 21-year-old Trentin Ross). Mr. Ross had criminal charges pending against him.
As one would imagine how any criminal case being investigated and prosecuted by a father and son team would be handled—DeShon’s case was handled in such that manner—and probably worse.
It would take nearly three years for DeShon and his mother to learn that Detective Don Odham was NOT a Leon County Sheriff’s Detective as Second Circuit State Attorney Willie Meggs, Chief Assistant State Attorney Georgia Cappleman, Leon County Sheriff Larry Campbell and Assistant State Attorney/ Prosecutor Jack Campbell had presented to the Grand Jury, as well as three Leon County Judges—Judge Ronald Flury, Judge Robert Wheeler and Juge Nina Ashenafi-Richardson, also to one circuit judge—Circuit Judge James C. Hankinson and then later Circuit Judge Jackie Fulford.
“Detective” Don Odham, was a Reserve Deputy—a volunteer deputy. As described by a former Leon County Sheriff’s Deputy, “Detective” Don Odham is a wealthy, close personal friend to Leon County Sheriff Larry Campell and his son Jack Campbell. Assistant State Attorney/Prosecutor Jack Campbell approved “Detective” Don Odham’s Summary of Offense for Two Counts of 1st Degree Murder and Probable Cause charging DeShon with the murders, despite being informed by other deputies, including Lead Detective Melinda McBride, the “Detective” Don Odham was not being truthful. Not only did Second District State Attorney Willie Meggs, Assistant State Attorney/Prosecutor Jack Campbell, Chief Assistant Georgia Cappleman and Leon County Sheriff Larry Campbell lie about Mr. Don Odham’s capacity with the Leon County Sheriff’s Office, they lied and said that “Detective” Don Odham was the Lead Detective on the double homicide case.
Leon County Sheriff’s Detective Melinda McBride, a Black woman, was in fact the lead detective on the double homicide case. Detective McBride and her team of detectives did not present sufficient probable cause to have DeShon charged with the murders and had began investigating other promising leads. Simultaneous to Lead Detective McBride and her teams efforts, “Detective” Don Odham, Leon County Sheriff Larry Campbell and his son, Assistant State Attorney/Prosecutor Jack Campbell, as well as Second State Attorney Willie Meggs were plotting their own way to make an arrest. It is believed that’s why “Detective” Don Odham, who already had quite a few heated exchanges of words with DeShon’s mother—was front and center to move forward with lying in order to have DeShon charged with the murders.
Citizens of Tallahassee should be comfortable knowing that each and every criminal investigation is properly handled by the law enforcement agency that has jurisdiction over the area where the crime occurred. Citizens of Tallahassee should be comfortable knowing that when they walk into the office of a law enforcement agency and specifically ask to speak with a detective, they are going to speak with a detective or a full-time deputy of that agency. Not a volunteer, wealthy friend who is feeding the sheriff and the command staff money to allow him to play “Detective”—including being allowed to wear plain clothes versus a uniform. Volunteer deputies have limited duties in their capacity—they are not allowed to perform the duties or attain the responsibilities of a detective—let alone on a double homicide case. Furthermore, “Detective” Don Odham, a former businessman, does not have the credentials to pretend to be a detective. All “Detective” Don Odham had was the false sense of security that Leon County Sheriff Larry Campbell and his son, Assistant State Attorney/Prosecutor Jack Campbell, along with other corrupt officials would make him the “Hero” of the Lead Detective who solved a cold-blooded double homicide of a brother and sister—in which the sister was pregnant.
In 2012, the lawyer of Matthew Scheidt, the Florida teenager who was arrested for impersonating a Physician’s Assistant in a hospital, blamed the hospital staff for putting Matthew Scheidt into their computer system as a Physician’s Assistant and then providing him with an identification badge identifying him as a Physician’s Assistant. Matthew Scheidt was a medical clerk not a Physician’s Assistant. However, Matthew Scheidt took advantage of the hospital’s mistake and began examining patients in the Emergency Room. When Matthew Scheidt was arrested for impersonating a Physician’s Assistant, the hospital admitted that they’d made a mistake.
Mr. Don Odham was allowed to identify himself as “Detective” Don Odham on Leon County Sheriff’s Incident reports, court documents and other legal documents. For whatever reason, other Leon County Sheriff’s Deputies referred to Mr. Odham as “Detective” in their reports and in their testimonies. Instead of Second Circuit State Attorney Willie Meggs, Leon County Sheriff Larry Campbell and his son, Assistant State Attorney/Prosecutor Jack Campbell and others admitting that they falsified court document and made mistakes, including the mistake of wrongfully charging 17-year-old DeShon Thomas, they recruited judges, private lawyers, the Office of Criminal Conflict and Civil Regional Counsel’s lawyers, Nancy Daniels with the Office of the Public Defender, other Leon County Sheriff’s Deputies, Dr. Anthony Clark (medical examiner), and a convicted felon, to help them contain their mess. This team of misrepresentatives of humanity, were so sloppy, so corrupt in their actions that Second Circuit State Attorney Willie Meggs and Assistant State Attoney/Prosecutor Jack Campbell refused to release the victims’ autopsy reports and other vital evidence that could’ve exonerated DeShon. And DeShon’s court appointed Regional Counsel was so on-board to carry out their role in this corruption—that despite Leon County Sheriff’s Deputies making up the majority of the state’s witness list, no depositions of Leon County Sheriff’s Deputies were taken—including that of Mr. Don Odham.
Darrielle Copeland and DeShon Thomas were young Black students who were looking forward to bright futures. Today, Darrielle family grieves their lost and DeShon’s family… has relocated near their hometown in Central Florida. DeShon is INNOCENT!!!
Both Darrielle’s mother and DeShon’s mother reached out to Governor Rick Scott to seek assistance with obtaining Justice for their children—to no avail. Governor Rick Scott, Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi and other authorities in Tallahassee, have chosen to allow a woman to once again drive recklessly with the possibility of taking another life, as well as—allow a cold-blooded murderer to remain on the streets of Tallahassee with the possibility of murdering again.
The citizens of Tallahassee are clearly victims of Institutionalized Corruption.