Tallahassee, FL—Parks &Crump Attorney at Law is headquartered in Tallahassee, Florida. Parks & Crump have been in the news media several times in regards to Wrongful Death cases. Most recent in Ferguson, Missouri where an unarmed teen was executed by a police officer while the teens hands were up in the air. Officials in Ferguson, Missouri started out being secret about what led up to the police officer shooting six shots into the teen, why the teens body lay out in the middle of the street for four or more hours, and the autopsy of the teen. Why?
Why did Parks & Crump have to hire Dr. Michael Baden to come perform an autopsy on a murdered teen?
The citizens of Ferguson, MO pay taxes that in turn pay the salaries for the medical examiner’s employees, including the police officer that executed the teen, as well as the salaries of other government officials. What would have happened if Parks & Crump would not have had the $10,000 examination fee to pay Dr. Michael Baden? Are ordinary citizens going to have to start setting money aside on top of paying taxes to gain access to documents that are considered to be ‘Public Record’?
On January 27, 2011, Leon County Sheriff Larry Campbell began investigating a double homicide case in southeast Tallahassee. The victims were 20-year-old Laqecia Herring and her 17-year-old brother, Sterling Conner Jr. While Julie Montanaro with local news station WCTV, along with other WCTV news reporters informed the community that the autopsy report of Ms. Herring revealed that she was twenty-one weeks pregnant, State Prosecutor Jack Campbell refused to allow the District Two Medical Examiner’s Office to release the autopsy report as Public Record.
Seventeen-year-old DeShon Thomas, a Black teen, who was attending his freshman year at Tallahassee Community College and crew member at Taco Bell, was the main focal point for Leon County Sheriff Detectives. On January 28, 2011, DeShon and his mother walked into the Leon County Sheriff’s Office asking to speak with a detective to inform them of threats that DeShon was aware of that had been made against the female victim. DeShon was bothered by the threats because the victim may have been pregnant with his child. Not long after they arrived at the sheriff’s office, DeShon and his mother were being subjected to racist vulgar, stripped apart, refused access to an attorney, DeShon was served with a number of search warrants, DeShon and his mother were locked in a room, held totally against their will, and hours later when DeShon was said to be placed under arrest by Detective Don Odham, Det. Odham refused to tell DeShon and his mother why DeShon was being arrested.
A few hours later, DeShon’s mother received a phone call to come pick up DeShon from the Juvenile Assessment Center. DeShon had been charged with Cultivation of Marijuana and Possession of Drug Paraphernalia. It was reported in the Probable Cause Report that five pots of soil with marijuana stems sprouting from them had been located in the bedroom closet of DeShon’s co-worker, 21-year-old Trentin Ross. DeShon had been temporarily sleeping on the couch at Mr. Ross’ one-bedroom apartment. It was during the time when DeShon and his mother were at the Leon County Sheriff’s Office as to when detectives executed the search warrant at Mr. Ross’ one bedroom apartment. It was reported that while Mr. Ross admitted to watering the plants and turning the lights on over the plants, Mr. Ross would not say how the plants got into his bedroom closet. Mr. Ross was also charged with Cultivation of Marijuana and Possession of Drug Paraphernalia. Mr. Ross was also questioned by Lead Detective Melinda McBride and Lieutenant Tim Baxter about DeShon’s whereabouts the night of January 26, 2011 and the early morning hours of January 27, 2011. Mr. Ross told both Detective McBride and Lieutenant Baxter that DeShon was at work—Taco Bell located in northeast Tallahassee (nineteen miles away from the crime scene).
DeShon told Detective Odham and Detective McBride that he was at work. Both the manager and another crew member told detectives that DeShon was at work. DeShon’s timesheet shows that he was in fact at work. According to DeShon’s timesheet, DeShon clocked in at 1805 on January 26, 2011 and clocked out at 0130 on January 27, 2011. DeShon’s manager and co-worker informed detectives that DeShon was at work for his entire shift. DeShon’s co-worker also informed detectives that he gave DeShon a car ride to Mr. Ross’ apartment, which is located less than a half-mile away from Taco Bell. Neither DeShon nor Mr. Ross owned a vehicle.
According to the Leon County Discovery Report, in regards to Ms. Herring’s (female victim) outgoing cell phone activity, the last outgoing cell phone activity was a text to DeShon’s cell phone on January 26, 2011 at 10:59 p.m. Ms. Herring, who was the mother of a toddler at the time of her death, was known to use her cell phone regularly during the late night and into the early morning. The victims’ mother informed detectives that she’d taken Ms. Herring and Ms. Herring’s toddler daughter to the residential two-story townhome (which is also the mother’s residence) around 10 p.m. and they all went inside. The victims’ mother also informed detectives that her son, Sterling (the male victim) was not home during the time that she’d spent in the home. The victims’ mother left to go spend the night with her significant other around 10:30 p.m. She never saw Sterling alive that night.
The following morning, on January 27, 2011, around 10:20 a.m. when she returned home with her 16-year-old son and her significant other, there in the living room, was both of her children, they were deceased. However, while Ms. Herring’s body was setting in a comfortable position—in a chair—a position in which any experienced detective—let alone a county sheriff would say that she (Ms. Herring) clearly never saw the gun or the bullet coming her way—Sterling’s body was wrapped in two comforters nearly at the feet of Ms. Herring’s body. So much so, that the mother told detectives that she didn’t see him when she entered into the home. It wasn’t until her 16-year-old son saw him and made a statement that made her realize that there was someone else dead under the comforter. Neither the victims’ mother nor brother unwrapped the comforter to confirm that it was in fact Sterling.
After detectives began to investigate the crime scene, Leon County Sheriff Larry Campbell arrived at the scene. Detectives reported that there was a bullet hole in the comforter where Sterling’s head was located. As detectives began to unwrap one of the comforters, they were able to line up the bullet hole to a gunshot wound to the side of Sterling’s head. Detectives reported that there was no sign of forced entry or a struggle. Both victims were shot two times each—both shots to their head. According to a Crime Scene Log-In Sheet, FDLE officials worked the scene, but no one from the District Two Medical Examiner’s Office arrived at the scene.
Dr. Anthony Clark, with the District Two Medical Examiner’s Office began to perform the autopsies of the victims’ on the morning of January 28, 2011. By then, the Leon County Sheriff’s Office had obtained a Court Order for DeShon’s AT&T cell phone records and had DeShon being GPS tracked by his cell phone via AT&T. Leslie Rabon with the Leon County Sheriff’s Office requested AT&T to update her and Chris Corbitt with the Tallahassee Police Department of DeShon’s movements every fifteen minutes. In this request, Ms. Rabon left out all of the other law enforcement agencies, including Tallahassee Community College Police Office, in regards of such. At the time of Dr. Clark’s examination of Sterling, Dr. Clark located a bullet wound to the back of Sterling’s head. Although it may not be noted, this bullet wound to the back of Sterling’s head had to be the first bullet wound to enter into Sterling because of the point of entry and there not being a bullet hole in the comforter to line up with that particular wound. Any experienced detective and county sheriff must know that a person will not allow another person to wrap them in two comforters and then shoot them in the head.
In the victims’ mother’s statement, at no time was she asked nor did she mention, if the night of January 26, 2011, when she’d brought her daughter and granddaughter home, if she’d physically checked the residence to see if Sterling was in the home or if she’d just not seen Sterling in the downstairs area and assumed that Sterling was not at home.
Experienced medical examiners are aware that there are various aspects that have to be taken into account when it comes to the three stages of rigor mortis. Although Dr. Clark noted Ms. Herring was pregnant and overweight, Ms. Herring’s stage of rigor mortis was not consistent with that of her brother, Sterling’s. Dr. Clark noted that Sterling’s was physically fit for a 17-year-old and that Sterling’s stage of rigor mortis was in the moderate to full. According to Dr. Clark’s court testimony, since he did not come to the crime scene, he used crime scene photos and what he observed when he came in contact with the bodies as to determine the stage of rigor mortis when the victims were found murdered. Dr. Clark stated that Sterling was in the 2nd stage of rigor mortis. The 2nd stage of rigor mortis occurs after the victim has been deceased for 12 hours or more.
In the Summary of Offense for Two Counts of 1st Degree Murder and Probable Cause drafted by Leon County Sheriff Detective Don Odham and Approved by State Prosecutor Jack Campbell on February 7, 2011, Detective Don Odham states that Mr. Ross voluntarily came to the Leon County Sheriff’s Office and gave incriminating statements to him in regards to the murders. Detective Don Odham states that Mr. Ross used his girlfriend’s car to drive DeShon to the victims’ residence around 4 a.m. the morning of January 27, 2011. As Detective Don Odham reports that Mr. Ross parked across the street from the victims’ residence and later heard two gunshots around 4:15 a.m. (It’s no wonder why State Prosecutor Jack Campbell refused to allow the District Two Medical Examiner’s Office to allow the victims’ autopsy reports to be made a matter of Public Record. No doctor in their right mind would testify that between 4:15 a.m. and 10:20 a.m. (approx. 6 hours) that a victim would be in an advance stage of rigor mortis, unless there was a question about the conditions of the environment—something Dr. Clark would not know about because neither Dr. Clark nor anyone from the District Two Medical Examiner’s Office came to the crime scene.) DeShon was charged with the murders. DeShon entered Not Guilty on all charges. DeShon is INNOCENT!
DeShon had a private attorney by the name of Gregory Cummings who was fired. DeShon had several court-appointed attorneys. DeShon’s court appointed attorneys filed Motions to Withdraw. Circuit Judge James C. Hankinson violated DeShon’s right to due process, while allowing State Prosecutor Jack Campbell to act out prosecutorial misconduct. Circuit Judge Hankinson was taken off of the case. State Prosecutor Jack Campbell used every resource available to his advantage of being the son of the criminal investigation agency—the prosecution of 17-year-old DeShon Thomas was without a doubt a “Family and Friends Affair”. During DeShon’s trial, DeShon and his mother learned that Detective Don Odham was not a Leon County Sheriff’s Detective at all—Detective Don Odham was not on the payroll—was not creditable—instead, he was a friend of the Campbell Family. None of DeShon’s attorney would file documents for the victims’ autopsy reports to be made Public Record.
Florida Governor Rick Scott and Attorney General Pam Bondi were notified about the corruption as it played out over the nearly three years that it took for DeShon to go to trial. DeShon’s mother begged for a Special Prosecutor—to no avail. DeShon’s mother informed Attorney General Pam Bondi about the judge allowing perjured testimony to go to the jury—to no avail.
Dr. Michael Baden waived his $10,000 fee in the Ferguson case, saving Parks & Crump money to go toward other costs that will help the teen’s family in their seek for justice. In a press conference, Dr. Baden seemed to be disgusted by simply having to perform an autopsy because the local medical examiner’s office couldn’t be trusted—they were not releasing any information to the teen victim’s family. Dr. Baden told the press that, “We all deserve and should expect transparency in death investigation.”
History has shown us time and time again—that where there’s cover-up—there’s CORRUPTION.