Tallahassee, FL—Not long ago, many prosecutors complained about not being able to gain convictions because jurors may have been affected due to television shows like Law and Order and CSI: Miami. The problem that prosecutors were having was the inability to produce to the jurors a hefty amount of physical evidence in order to gain convictions. Well, the lack of physical evidence is not been a problem with State Attorney Willie Meggs and his Assistant State Attorneys/Prosecutors. They simply don’t present physical evidence to win their cases. They win their convictions the old fashion way—they withhold evidence and commit fraud.
The late Leon County Sheriff Larry Campbell and 2nd Judicial Circuit Willie Meggs seemed to feed off of each other. State Attorney Willie Meggs, who repeatedly assigned Assistant State Attorney/Prosecutor Jack Campbell to prosecute case that Sheriff Campbell was investigating, was win-win with or without a single shred of evidence against defendants. In most cases where the father/son duo collaborated on—Assistant State Attorney/Prosecutor Jack Campbell relied heavily on orchestrated testimony from his dad’s employees—Leon County Sheriff’s Deputies and Detectives, and judges willing to sign any document placed before them. Whenever Assistant State Attorney/Prosecutor Jack Campbell ordered judges to sign documents—they got signed. (Leon County Sheriff Larry Campbell had forty plus years of being involved in local law enforcement before being elected sheriff. Naturally, his son, Jack Campbell, a forty-something year-old White male, presented an arrogance like none of the other Assistant State Attorneys/Prosecutors employed by State Attorney Willie Meggs. Some of the judges in the 2nd Judicial Circuit, particularly Circuit Judge James Hankinson and Circuit Judge Jackie Fulford, were Assistant State Attorneys/Prosecutors under State Attorney Willie Meggs before being elected/appointed as circuit judge. In the 2011 double murder case, State of Florida vs. DeShon Thomas, Assistant State Attorney/Prosecutor Jack Campbell had no problem ordering Circuit Judge James Hankinson and then Circuit Judge Jackie Fulford to do as he wanted them to do. In his arrogant manner, Assistant State Attorney/Prosecutor Jack Campbell told both judges what to do and how to do it—including what court appointed attorneys to assign to cases of his inmate witnesses.
In 2011, seventeen-year-old, DeShon Thomas, a Black male, was a full-time freshman at Tallahassee Community College. When DeShon’s pregnant ex-girlfriend and her 17-year-old brother were found murdered in their mother’s townhome, the Leon County Sheriff’s Office used all of their resources to investigate DeShon. There was absolutely no physical evidence linking DeShon to the murders nor was there a single finger from the victims’ family members pointing to DeShon as being the murderer. Detectives saw that DeShon had a juvenile record and decided to draw their own conclusions. Detective chose to overlook that DeShon’s juvenile record was not lengthy, consisted of non-violent charges and were committed when DeShon was 15-years-old. DeShon was always held responsible for his offenses—meaning he didn’t run away from them. DeShon had no reason to commit the murders of his friends. The evidence and witness statements that veteran detectives were receiving did not link DeShon to the murderer. As veteran detective were beginning to follow up on the evidence and statements from witnesses, Leon County Sheriff’s Detective Don Odham claimed to have gotten an incriminating statement from DeShon’s co-worker, 21-year-old Trentin Ross.
(Prior to DeShon being charged with the murders, Sheriff Larry Campbell and Assistant State Attorney /Prosecutor Jack Campbell recruited Don Odham to work in the Violent Crimes Unit as a detective. Mr. Odham, a wealthy family friend of the Campbell’s, was never an employee with the Leon County Sheriff’s Office, yet, Mr. Odham was given a badge, a patrol car, and full authority to act as crime scene detective and homicide detective. Mr. Odham had been involved in several homicide cases that ended in controversy—cases that were mishandled by Leon County Sheriff Larry Campbell and State Attorney Willie Meggs. The first mishandling of the controversial and/or homicide cases was with Mr. Odham not being an employee of the Leon County Sheriff’s Office, yet, being involved with processing crimes scenes, conducting interviews of witnesses, handling evidences, and including reports (legal documents—notarized documents) reports listing Mr. Odham as a Leon County Sheriff’s Detective. The second mishandling of cases, was State Attorney Willie Meggs filing documents with the Leon County Clerk of Courts and then using Mr. Odham’s documents as part of his decision to prosecute or not prosecute criminal cases. State Attorney Willie Meggs and Assistant State Attorney/Prosecutor Jack Campbell knew that Mr. Odham was not an employee of the Leon County Sheriff’s Office. While it is unknown who all was aware of Mr. Odham being allowed to “act” as a Leon County Sheriff’s Detective, it is known that several families reached out to the Federal Bureau of Investigation for assistance to help resolve issues with either the lost of their loved one or the wrongful prosecution of their loved one.)
On October 18, 2013, nearly 3 years after the murders, DeShon was convicted on the 2011 double homicide (Two Counts of 1st Degree Murder) and the 2012 case (Solicitation to Commit 1st Degree Murder). There was no physical evidence linking DeShon to the murders and the Solicitation to Commit 1st Degree Murder charge was orchestrated by Assistant State Attorney/Prosecutor Jack Campbell and State Attorney Investigator Jason Newlin. While DeShon never asked a fellow inmate to kill Trentin Ross, the only witness against DeShon—there is a Leon County Sheriff’s Sergeant by the name of Ronald O’Brien, who testified at a pre-trial hearing that he took a letter that had been written in gang code by Dawaun Williams into the Leon County Jail and placed in an area where the POD Correctional Officer would unsuspectingly deliver the letter to DeShon. (Mr. Williams had been introduced to DeShon two weeks earlier. After it was relayed to Assistant State Attorney/Prosecutor Jack Campbell that Mr. Williams and DeShon had been introduced, Assistant State Attorney/Prosecutor Jack Campbell ordered State Attorney Jason Newlin to go to the Leon County Jail and meet with Mr. Dawaun Williams. Once Mr. Williams agreed to assist with them with getting DeShon charged with Solicitation to Commit murder, Mr. Williams was released from jail. Next, Mr. Williams worked with State Attorney Jason Newlin and Sergeant O’Brien. Sergeant O’Brien did not work in the Leon County Jail neither was Sergeant O’Brien a member of the jail’s gang taskforce. Deputy O’Brien, State Attorney Investigator Jason Newlin and DeShon had no prior knowledge of how to read or write in gang code until their brief interaction with inmate, Dawaun Williams. DeShon, Deputy O’Brien and State Attorney Jason Newlin relied on Dawaun Williams to interpret the one letter that Mr. Williams testified to have written. Mr. Williams received money from the State Attorney’s Office and the Leon County Sheriff’s Office.
As it’s been reported, currently, Curtis Hall, a Black male, is on trial for two murders that took place in 2012. Curtis Hall, who was seventeen-years-old at the time of his arrest, was an acquaintance of the two brothers who were found murder. The Hornsby brothers, who were both in their early sixties, were found murdered in their apartment. There is no physical evidence, no DNA, no fingerprints, etc. linking Curtis to the murders. (Taking into consideration the ton of lies used to convict DeShon Thomas, nothing and no one coming out of State Attorney Willie Meggs’ Office should be able to be presented to a jury.)
DeShon Thomas and Curtis Hall were typical seventeen year-olds. Mothers far and wide will testify that their seventeen-year-old sons are not clean enough to enter a room without leaving some form of evidence indicating that they were in that room—let alone a townhouse or an apartment.
There’s was plenty of physical evidence left behind at the crime scene of the two victims in that DeShon Thomas was charged. The physical evidence doesn’t link DeShon to the murders–because DeShon did not commit the murders. Instead of law enforcement officers following the evidence, they’d rather pluck Black male teens out of society and make them be the murderer.
As reported by the New York Times, in the article titled, ‘Can Forgiveness Play a Role in Criminal Justice’, a Tallahassee man named Conner McBride, who was a 19-year-old White male, walked into the Tallahassee Police Department in 2010 and confessed to murdering his girlfriend after the two had been arguing. The reporter with the New York Times basically states in the article that the police didn’t believe his confession—even further—the article gives details describing how Mr. McBride was coddled by the police and then treated gracefully by Leon County Sheriff Larry Campbell and State Attorney Willie Meggs, along with Assistant State Attorney/ Prosecutor Jack Campbell.
According to reports, in September 2013, a 17-year-old White male named Logan Murphy, shot and killed 17-year-old Robert Butler (a Black male). Robert Butler was in his home at the time of the shooting. Leon County Sheriff’s Detectives had the gun that was used to shoot Robert Butler and witnesses who identified Logan Murphy as the shooter, yet, months passed before Logan Murphy was arrested and charged with the murders. As far as Robert Butler’s family is concerned, justice was not served in their son’s murder. Upon Logan Murphy’s release from a juvenile facility at the age of 21, Logan Murphy will not be a convicted felon.
When it comes to charging and convicting White teenage males—even with their own confessions and the recovery of murder weapons—Tallahassee prosecutors and judges coddle them. But when it comes to charging a Black teenage male with murders—evidence is not needed. In fact, it’s not required—anything is acceptable—even placing a “fake cop” as lead detective and the State Attorney’s Office filing legal documents consisting fraudulent information. “Business as usual”, is what it seems to be when it comes to charging and convicting Black male teens without any physical evidence linking them to the murders—no DNA, no fingerprints, etc.