Tallahassee, FL—On Thursday, May 21, 2015, a jury found Curtis Hall guilty of Two Counts of 2nd Degree Murder and Armed Robbery. Curtis Hall was 17-years-old when he was charged with the double murders of the Hornsby brothers—both men in their early sixties. Although there was no physical evidence against the teen, it’s been reported that Curtis Hall confessed to the murders—but only after hours of being interrogated by the Tallahassee Police. Keep in mind that this is the same Tallahassee Police Department that is being accused of mishandling the rape allegations against Jameis Winston reported by Erica Kinsman—both Florida State University students at the time of alleged rape.
So—is the message here when a White female college student reports an alleged rape committed by a Florida State University football player—she’s not to be believed—but when a 17-year-old Black boy is interrogated for numerous hours—his confession is gospel? Where is the gun that was used to murder the Hornsby brothers? Is the gun in the back of a neighbor’s toilet? Or has the gun been transported away from the Gum Road Solid Waste transfer station—and dumped miles away in a landfill?
The vast mishandling of criminal cases in Tallahassee is disturbing. Neither college students, who may be a victim or witness of crime,– nor defense attorneys, who may be attempting to uphold their defendant’s right to due process,– seem to be able to hit the mark—despite doing everything that they are legally supposed to do. A clear sign of corruption within the judicial system.
Some college students have admitted to being in fear of the police. In October 2013, a petite female college student testified in the double murder trial of DeShon Thomas. The female witness’ name, along with crucial parts of her testimony that pointed away from DeShon as the murderer and possibly directly to the real murderer, was published on the Internet—on the website of WCTV News—Tallahassee’s local news station. The female witness was unaware of having been exploited in such manner. While there was probably no law having been broken by WCTV News, the reporter covering the story, Julie Montanaro, protected the identity (did not show his face) of the male witness who testified against DeShon.
Circuit Judge Jackie Fulford was the second judge to preside over DeShon’s case. Circuit Judge Fulford spontaneously replaced Circuit Judge James C. Hankinson following a letter that DeShon’s mother had mailed to Governor Rick Scott in mid-2013. Circuit Judge Jackie Fulford set trial for four months out from the time she took over. DeShon’s new court appointed attorney had recently had his Motion to Withdraw from DeShon’s case denied by Circuit Judge James Hankinson. Seemingly at the time—no defense attorney wanted to represent DeShon in a double murder case where Assistant State Attorney/Prosecutor Jack Campbell and his dad, Leon County Sheriff Larry Campbell, could not present a single piece of physical evidence to prove that 17-year-old DeShon Thomas had committed the offenses. In addition, the Leon County Sheriff’s Office and State Attorney Willie Meggs’ Office had filed legal documents identifying Don Odham as a Leon County Sheriff’s Detective—further allowing Mr. Odham to testify in front of a grand jury as a detective. It was Mr. Odham’s reports and documents that Assistant State Attorney/Prosecutor Jack Campbell used in order to get Leon County Judge Nina Ashenafi-Richardson to find sufficient probable cause and issue an arrest warrant for DeShon. DeShon plead Not Guilty. During DeShon’s trial, is when DeShon and DeShon’s family learned that the man who had been referred to as “Leon County Sheriff’s Detective Don Odham”, was never an employee at the Leon County Sheriff’s Office. Mr. Odham is referred to as “Leon County Sheriff Detective Don Odham”, on notarized legal documents, and by numerous veteran Leon County Sheriff’s Deputies, by DeShon’s defense attorneys, by Assistant State Attorney/Prosecutor Jack Campbell, and by Circuit Judge Jackie Fulford. All of DeShon’s attorneys failed to inform DeShon that he was arrested and convicted for murdering two of his friends, along with the life of his unborn daughter–because Leon County Sheriff Larry Campbell and his son, Assistant State Attorney/Prosecutor Jack Campbell, along with State Attorney Willie Meggs and others decided that it was best to allow Mr. Don Odham to “Play Cop”. Mr. Odham testified as to having spent several years in business. It was Mr. Odham’s constant presence at the Leon County Sheriff’s Office as to why he says that he was given a badge and asked to be a detective with the Violent Crimes Unit (car sales professionals would refer to Mr. Odham as a “Lot Lizard”). At no given time was Mr. Odham an official Leon County Sheriff’s Detective. All Mr. Odham really is—is a close personal friend of Leon County Sheriff Larry Campbell and Assistant State Attorney/Prosecutor Jack Campbell. Although Circuit Judge Jackie Fulford is not being investigated by the Judicial Qualifications Commission for misconduct committed in DeShon Thomas’ case, DeShon’s mother did file a complaints with the JQC against Circuit Judge Jackie Fulford, Circuit Judge James C. Hankinson, Circuit Judge Charles Dodson, and Leon County Judge Robert Wheeler. All of these judges violated DeShon Thomas’ right to due process.
Defense attorneys should not be faced with having to act unethically in order to gain favor with judges. Assistant State Attorney/Prosecutor Jack Campbell stated that he “tells judges which attorneys to assign to cases,” –and guess what—he wasn’t lying. Assistant State Attorney/Prosecutor Jack Campbell instructed Circuit Judge Jackie Fulford during DeShon Thomas’ pre-trial. Assistant State Attorney/Prosecutor Jack Campbell blatantly lied to the court in order to gain favorable rulings/convictions.
According to reports, on May 22, 2015, a jury found Curtis Hall guilty of 2 counts of second degree murder. Curtis Hall was 17-years-old in 2012, when he was charged with shooting and killing the Hornsby brothers. The Hornsby brothers, who were in their early sixties, were acquaintances of Curtis Hall. During Curtis Hall’s trial, which began the week of May 18, 2015, Curtis Hall’s lawyer argued that there was no evidence to show that Curtis Hall had committed the murders. Curtis Hall’s double murder trial without any physical evidence linking him to the murders was the second double murder case in Tallahassee where a 17-year-old Black male was charged and convicted without any physical evidence against him. What does that say about the forensics team of law enforcement officers’ qualifications? Are law enforcement officers in the Crime Scene Unit in Tallahassee qualified to properly collect evidence?
Also reported on May 22, 2015, was the First District Court of Appeals overturning of the conviction of Kendrick Herring, a Black male who was charged in Tallahassee with second degree murder, attempted second degree murder and two firearms charges. Kendrick Herring was sentenced to two life sentences. The first District Court of Appeals overturned his conviction based on law enforcement officers failure to obtain a search warrant before tracking Mr. Herring’s cell phone. Surely, law enforcement officers’ failure to obtain a search warrant was not an oversight by Mr. Herrings defense attorney–was it? Note: Mr. Herrings appeal was not on the basis of an incompetent lawyer. Another situation similar to all others—where law enforcement officers make an arrest at will and the defendants lawyers maybe coerced to sit back and allow their clients to be convicted. Any first year law school student could have defended Mr. Herring on the grounds of law enforcements failure to obtain a search warrant. So why is Mr. Herring, along with college students in Tallahassee being subjected to such game? Judicial games are a complete waste of Florida taxpayers’ money–especially when there are so many uninsured Floridians.
When parents send their children off to college—parents brace themselves for the many mistakes that their child may make. No parent is prepared to deal with the exploitation of their child or a judicial body plagued with corruption. Definitely not defense attorneys who are in some form of fear of the judges who hold all of the cards–except when, you know, Assistant State Attorney Jack Campbell is the prosecutor.