Tallahassee, FL—According to reports taken by Leon County Sheriff Officials, Ms. Tracy Bush stated that after she (Ms. Bush) entered into the front door of her townhouse around 10:15 a.m. on January 27, 2011, she (Ms. Bush) saw her daughter slumped over in a chair that set in the living room. She (Ms. Bush) believed her daughter was playing as if she was asleep. It was not until Ms. Bush got closer to her daughter and notice blood under her nose as to when Ms. Bush realized that there was something seriously wrong. Ms. Bush, the mother of seventeen-year-old Sterling Conner Jr. and 20-year-old Laqecia Herring, testified that Ms. Herring’s toddler daughter was standing in “her mother’s lap,” when she entered into the front door. After not getting a response from Laqecia and then noticing the blood underneath Laqecia’s nose, Ms. Bush heard her son, 16-year-old Ronterrious Conner, who had come into the house with Ms. Bush, say, “They’re dead.” Ms. Bush turned around and saw who she believed to be her son, Sterling, on the living room floor. The upper and mid to lower portion of the body on the floor was completely wrapped in two comforters. But both socks and shoes of the person underneath the comforters were visibly on the person’s feet. Ms. Bush told Leon County Sheriff’s detectives that she and the two youngest of her four children had spent the night away and that the only two people that should’ve been in the townhome was Laqecia and Sterling.
Ms. Bush’s residence was located within two miles of Tallahassee Community College and the Leon County Sheriff’s Office. Within a matter of minutes, Leon County Sheriff’s Officials arrived at the crime scene. According to a report, a detective unwrapped the comforter covering the victim’s head to make sure the victim was deceased and to identify the victim. The victim was in fact that of Sterling Conner Jr. A lieutenant with the Leon County Sheriff’s Office called District Two Medical Examiner associate, Dr. Anthony Clark, and informed him of the horrific crime scene. No one with the District Two Medical Examiner’s Office came out to the crime scene. Leon County Crime Scene Detective Fred Smelt and others with the Leon County Sheriff’s Office, including “Fake Cop,” Don Odham, documented the crime scene. The victims’ bodies were transported to the morgue at Tallahassee Memorial Hospital by Bevis Funeral Home.
Seventeen-year-old DeShon Thomas, a freshman at Tallahassee Community College was charged with both murders. There was no physical, material or circumstantial evidence against DeShon. DeShon’s fate seemed to hang in the valance of a 21-year-old disgruntle co-worker and friend named Trentin Ross and a racist man named Don Odham who had been allowed to “Play Lead Detective—Play Cop” by his friend, Leon County Sheriff Larry Campbell. It is unclear how many criminal investigations “Leon County Sheriff’s Detective Don Odham,” may have botched. Fear and intimidation by the Leon County Sheriff’s Office and the State Attorney’s Office sprouted corruption all over DeShon’s judicial proceedings.
The victims’ time of death should’ve have played a key role in DeShon’s judicial proceedings. Instead, Second Judicial State Attorney Willie Meggs and his Assistant State Attorney Jack Campbell refused to allow the District Two Medical Examiner’s Office to release Herring and Conner’s autopsy reports. The decision to withhold the victims’ autopsy report was a direct violation of Florida’s public records law. Despite DeShon’s mother having paid a private attorney by the name of Gregory Cummings nearly $30,000, Gregory Cummings refused to disclose the victims autopsy reports or file the necessary motion to have the victims’ autopsy reports to be made public record. For more than a year and a half, Gregory Cummings refused to discuss the victims’ autopsy reports with DeShon or DeShon’s mother. In July 2012, when Gregory Cummings did come forth with the victims’ autopsy reports, the reports were noticeably incomplete. Gregory Cummings had paired with State Prosecutor Jack Campbell and Circuit Judge James C. Hankinson in violating DeShon’s right to due process. Gregory Cummings was fired! After firing Gregory Cummings, DeShon’s case defaulted to the court (Judge James C. Hankinson) to appoint an attorney. Public Defender Nancy Daniels and two attorneys with the Conflict Counsel’s Office–including Assistant Regional Director Counsel Daren Shippy—refused to disclose the victims’ autopsy reports to DeShon. The victims’ autopsy reports remained confidential and out of public record through DeShon’s October 2013 trial.
The problem that no one—including Governor Rick Scott and Attorney General Pam Bondi–wanted to acknowledge was that State Attorney Willie Meggs should have never assigned Assistant State Attorney Jack Campbell to prosecutor DeShon’s case. Assistant State Attorney Jack Campbell is the son of Leon County Sheriff Larry Campbell. Sheriff Larry Campbell (now deceased) had fifty years of local law enforcement service in Tallahassee/Leon County—including having worked for the Florida Department of Law Enforcement and having attended the Federal Bureau of Investigation Academy (according to profile). The father/son investigative/prosecution team went over and beyond to ensure DeShon’s conviction—including withholding exculpatory evidence and Sealing DeShon’s AT&T cell phone records. In the Summary of Offense for Two Counts of First Degree Murder, drafted and filed into Leon County Clerk of Court by “Leon County Sheriff’s Detective Don Odham, blatantly stated that DeShon’s AT&T cell phone was pinging off of a tower near the victims’ residence on the morning of January 27, 2011 at 4:14 and 4:15 a.m. Trentin Ross stated that he (Ross) used his girlfriend’s car to drive DeShon across the street from the victims’ residence during the early morning hours and waited in the car for DeShon. While waiting in the car, Trentin stated that he (Ross) received a text message from DeShon. He (Ross) texted DeShon back. Ross then stated that he heard two gunshots… Not only did Leon County Sheriff’s Office Criminal Analyst Leslie Rabon testify that Trentin Ross’ Sprint cell phone data was not available, but Leslie Rabon did not use AT&T’s documents to present to the jury—instead she used her own excel spreadsheet and maps from mapquest.
Dr. Anthony Clark testified during DeShon’s trial to not having gone out to the crime scene. Dr. Anthony Clark testified to using crime scene photos taken by the Leon County Sheriff’s as to having assisted him in the autopsy reports of Conner and Herring. Dr. Anthony Clark’s trial testimony did not accurately reflect his (Dr. Clark’s) notes. Dr. Anthony Clark’s trial testimony favored State Prosecutor Jack Campbell’s theory of DeShon having committed the murders.
In December 2013, soon after DeShon’s conviction, the mother of DeShon Thomas filed a complaint against Dr. Anthony Clark with the Florida Department of Health. In response to DeShon’s mother’s complaint, DeShon’s mother was threatened about the victims’ autopsy reports being confidential information. Not long thereafter, DeShon’s mother filed a complaint against Dr. Anthony Clark with the Florida Department of Law Enforcement. At that time, Commissioner Gerald Bailey was over the Department of Law Enforcement. Commissioner Gerald Bailey was a close friend of Leon County Sheriff Larry Campbell. (DeShon’s mother to also filed a Breach of Public Trust complaint against Sheriff Larry Campbell for allowing a civilian to impersonate a law enforcement officer and/or allowing a volunteer to act and assume the responsibilities and title of a Leon County Sheriff’s Detective. Don Odham violated DeShon’s Miranda Rights, and Don Odham replaced the lead detective and her team of detectives on the double homicide case of Conner and Herring. Numerous other violations followed. Commissioner Gerald Bailey refused to investigate Sheriff Larry Campbell. The complaint against Dr. Anthony Clark remains unanswered.
The families of seventeen-year-old Trayvon Martin, thirty-eight-year-old Marlon Brown, 85-year-old John McDonough—who was a decorated veteran (hero) of the Korean War, and 24-year-old Natasha Boykin are just a handful of Florida families who have publicly questioned Florida Medical Examiners reports.
According to News13 reporter, Christina Jensen, in August 2015, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement recommends probation for the Brevard County medical examiner who failed to perform an autopsy report on Mr. John McDonough.
News13 reported Mr. John McDonough’s son, Timothy McDonough, stating in regards to the medical examiner’s office, “This agency can no longer be trusted to provide our family and the people of Florida with truthful determination of cause and manner of death of our beloved father.”
Florida families are not the only families that feel pain due to the loss of a loved one. No family should feel the need to question medical examiners cause and manner of death. Families feeling the need to question medical examiners cause and manner of the death of their loved one(s) only adds to the pain—especially when medical examiners feel that your loved ones are not worth a trip to a crime scene or not worthy of having an autopsy performed on them at all.
Sadly, those in positions of “public service” seem to have forgotten who they’re supposed to serve.