Tallahassee, FL—Your child is in college. You’re miles away. Unbeknownst to your child, your child’s cell phone number is reportedly the last outgoing number to be located in the cell phone of a deceased individual—your child’s friend—girlfriend, boyfriend or ex-girlfriend/boyfriend—or maybe just an acquaintance—either way—your child’s cell phone number is reportedly the last outgoing activity in a deceased individual’s cell phone. The reporting agency who has located the deceased individual’s cell phone during the search of the crime scene in this case is the Leon County Sheriff’s Office.
Immediately, Leon County Sheriff’s Detectives have made up in their minds that the last outgoing activity from the deceased individual’s cell phone was last used by the deceased individual. Not because of the context of the last outgoing text message (in which a text message was reportedly the last outgoing activity from the deceased individual’s cell phone to your child)—not because of the context of the text message—because the context of the text message was vague as it was in response to a text from an hour or so earlier exchange of text messages between your child and the now deceased individual. The Leon County Sheriff’s Detectives acted only on their own individual theory as to coming to the conclusion as to the deceased individual having been the last user of the cell phone. There is absolutely NO WAY any Leon County Sheriff’s Detective could know that the deceased individual was the last user of the cell phone.
Instead of Leon County Sheriff’s Detectives contacting your child (or you), a Leon County Sheriff’s Detective was instructed to draft a Probable Cause Affidavit containing false information in order to get a judge to sign off on a court order demanding that the cell phone carrier of your child’s cell phone turnover all of your child’s cell phone records and immediately begin GPS tracking your child via your child’s cell phone.
This is what happened to Tallahassee Community College freshman, seventeen-year-old, DeShon Thomas, on Thursday, January 27, 2011, just hours after the Leon County Sheriff’s Office began investigating the double murder of DeShon’s ex-girlfriend, 20-year-old, Laqecia Herring and her brother, 17-year-old, Sterling Conner Jr. At the time of Ms. Herring’s murder, she was approximately five months pregnant.
The Leon County Sheriff’s Office knew that DeShon Thomas was a longtime local resident of Tallahassee. The Leon County Sheriff’s Office knew that DeShon was a freshman at Tallahassee Community College. The Leon County Sheriff’s Office knew that DeShon was an employee at Taco Bell on the northeast side of Tallahassee. The Leon County Sheriff’s Office knew that DeShon’s older brother was a senior at Florida State University. The Leon County Sheriff’s Office knew that DeShon’s mother owned/lived in a house in northeast Tallahassee. During the early evening hours, on January 27, 2011, instead of the Leon County Sheriff’s Office attempting to contact DeShon, a minor child, in a legal and ethical manner, Leon County Sheriff’s Detective Dawn Dennis presented Judge Ronald Flury with a Probable Cause Affidavit requesting DeShon’s cell phone carrier, AT&T, to turnover all of DeShon’s cell phone data and immediately begin GPS tracking DeShon via his cell phone. In the Probable Cause Affidavit, DeShon’s cell phone is stated to be involved in drug activity and that DeShon is a suspect in a double homicide investigation.
Leon County Sheriff’s Criminal Analyst Leslie Raybon faxed over to AT&T a copy of the signed court order. On the fax coversheet, Leslie Raybon instructs AT&T to inform her and Mike Corbin with the Tallahassee Police Department as to DeShon’s whereabouts every 15 minutes. (The exclusion of the Tallahassee Community College Police Department and Florida State University Police Department being left out of those to be updated or even put on notice of DeShon Thomas’ whereabouts shows that DeShon was not as big of a threat to the community as DeShon had been described to be in the Probable Cause Affidavit presented to Judge Ronald Flury. Many would agree that a suspect in a double homicide and drug dealer would clearly rise to the level for all local law enforcement agencies to be on notice.)
After GPS tracking of DeShon’s cell phone was started, it didn’t take long for those with the Leon County Sheriff’s Office to locate DeShon. DeShon was leaving a tattoo parlor with his cousin and young couple, along with the young couple’s toddler son. DeShon, his cousin and the toddler climbed into the backseat. The toddler’s mother climbed into the driver’s seat and the toddler’s father climbed into the passenger seat. Leon County Sheriff Detectives, who had been staking out the tattoo parlor, initiated a traffic stop. After ordering everyone out of the vehicle, a Leon County Sheriff’s detective took photos of DeShon’s shoes, searched the vehicle and ordered a K-9 Unit to have the dog sniff the car. After nothing was located, DeShon was asked by Lieutenant Tim Baxter if he would come to the Leon County Sheriff’s Office to speak with them about the murders. DeShon declined. DeShon was allowed to go on about his way.
Within hours, Leon County Sheriff’s Detective Dawn Dennis was back with Judge Ronald Flury getting a signature on another court order to have DeShon’s AT&T cell phone records Sealed. (This was all done on January 27, 2011, just hours after the Leon County Sheriff’s Office started their investigation into the double homicide.)
Nearly two weeks later, on February 4, 2011, the same day Leon County Sheriff Larry Campbell announced his plans to run for re-election (third-term), it was said that DeShon’s co-worker/roommate/friend–21-year-old, Trentin Ross had voluntarily come into the Leon County Sheriff’s Office and provided incriminating statements against DeShon. In part, Mr. Ross stated that he (Mr. Ross) had drove DeShon to a driveway across the street from the victims’ residence during the early morning hours of January 27, 2011.
In the Summary of Offense for Two Counts of 1st Degree Murder and Possession of a Firearm by a Juvenile Delinquent charging 17-year-old, Tallahassee Community College freshman/Taco Bell employee—DeShon Thomas as the murderer of Ms. Herring and her brother, Sterling—Leon County Sheriff Detective Don Odham states, “After obtaining cellular site data for DeShon Thomas’ phone records provided by AT&T, it was discovered that his cell phone was hitting off of the cellular tower in the area of State Road 20 and Capital Circle North West at approximately 0414 and 0415 hours on January 27, 2011.” DeShon plead NOT GUILTY!
DeShon’s mother paid a private attorney named Gregory Cummings nearly $30,000 over a sixteen months span—repeatedly asking to be provided with AT&T documents. In the Leon County Sheriff’s Office Discovery Report, the documents provided in regards to DeShon’s cell phone is an AT&T billing summary document and Leslie Raybon’s excel spreadsheet and maps from Mapquest. Gregory Cummings was asked to file the necessary documents to UnSeal DeShon’s AT&T cell phone records—Gregory Cummings refused. After Gregory Cummings was fired, DeShon’s court appointed attorneys also refused to UnSeal DeShon’s AT&T cell phone records—and then filed Motions to Withdraw from DeShon’s case.
During DeShon’s trial, Leon County Sheriff’s Criminal Analyst Leslie Raybon was careful to not mention AT&T. DeShon’s cell phone records remained Sealed.
No representative from AT&T was summoned to testify in DeShon’s trial.
DeShon’s cell phone activity that was reportedly pinging off of a tower at 0414 and 0415 on January 27, 2011 were text messages that were supposed to have been made from DeShon’s cell phone to Trentin Ross’ cell phone—with Trentin Ross responding from his (Ross’) cell phone to DeShon’s cell phone—with Trentin Ross sitting in a parked car across the street from the victims’ residence and DeShon was inside of the victims’ residence—shortly before Trentin Ross stated that he “heard two gunshots.”
Trentin Ross was not charged with anything in connection to the murders. According to Leon County Sheriff’s Criminal Analyst Leslie Raybon, Trentin Ross’ cell phone and cellular site data was unavailable. Trentin Ross cellular carrier was Sprint.
AT&T was used as bait in order to simply locate the whereabouts of 17-year-old, DeShon Thomas. AT&T was used as bait in order to get Leon County Judge Nina Ashenafi-Richardson to find probable cause to be sufficient to have 17-year-old, DeShon Thomas charged with Two Counts of 1st Degree Murder and Possession of a Firearm by a Juvenile Delinquent. AT&T was used as bait in order to get a Grand Jury to return an Indictment against 17-year-old, DeShon Thomas after Second Judicial Circuit Chief Assistant State Attorney Georgia Cappleman presented her case.
All throughout DeShon’s nearly two year judicial process and through DeShon’s four day trial, there was no presentation of any of AT&T’s documents. And what was worse, DeShon’s defense attorney, Assistant Regional Counsel Daren Shippy, did not fight for DeShon. And what’s worst is that the Office of Criminal Conflict and Civil Regional Counsel’s Office—Assistant Regional Counsel Attorney Melissa Ford failed to present a competent appeal on DeShon’s behalf.
What’s sad is the unknown number of defendants that Second Judicial Circuit State Attorney Willie Meggs and his team of Assistant State Attorney have convicted and sent off to prison based on cell phone data that was said to be from AT&T or another cell phone carrier—while all the while being excel spreadsheets created by Leon County Sheriff’s Criminal Analyst Leslie Raybon or someone with the Tallahassee Police Department.
Parents Be Aware—Second Judicial State Attorney Willie Meggs and his team of Assistant State Attorneys—especially Jack Campbell—and others–will go to the EXTREME to convict your INNOCENT child!