Leon County, FL—On October 9, 2013, WCTV News Reporter Julie Montanaro went to the Capitol and questioned two Republican lawmakers, State Representative Larry Ahern and State Senator Kelli Stargel, about their stance on the death of unborn victims. She failed to ask them how can state attorney’s office, law enforcement agencies, and the media protect the identity of witnesses who testify to a murder.
At the time of Julie Montanaro’s questioning the lawmakers, DeShon Thomas’ trial was underway. DeShon had been charged with the 2011 double homicide of his pregnant ex-girlfriend, 20-year-old, Laqecia Herring and her 17-year-old brother, Sterling Conner Jr. Prior to DeShon’s arrest, he was a freshman at Tallahassee Community College and an employee at Taco Bell; he was 17-years-old at the time of the charges. He was charged as an adult.
Florida’s Capital City (Tallahassee) is the home of two major state universities, and many other colleges. Ten months out of the year—every year—thousands of students from all over the country and the world live in Tallahassee to attend school. For nearly a decade, Jack Campbell was a prosecutor in Tallahassee. Jack Campbell, along with his dad, Tallahassee’s Sheriff Larry Campbell, worked together, both inside and outside of Tallahassee’s Judicial System. Sheriff Larry Campbell and his employees at the Leon County Sheriff’s Office, along with personal friends of Sheriff Campbell’s, committed numerous crimes against innocent citizens and jailhouse inmates awaiting trial, including intimidating witnesses, using sheriff’s deputies to smuggling paraphernalia into inmates PODS and giving at least on wealthy friend a law enforcement badge, a patrol car to use at his disposal, and the authorization to impersonate a law enforcement official. All of this criminal behavior was done in order to highlight Jack Campbell’s career with future plans of Jack Campbell becoming the successor of State’s Attorney Willie Meggs, whose career spanned more than 30 years. Nothing seemed to be off the table in the courtrooms at the Leon County Courthouse for Jack Campbell to score convictions.
Soon State Attorney Willie Meggs, Jack Campbell and Sheriff Larry Campbell teamed up with WCTV Reporter Julie Montanaro to instill fear in the citizens of Tallahassee and all students by exploiting anyone who was a defense witness. Witnesses whose statements and/or testimonies did not support the theories and arrests of Sheriff Larry Campbell (the investigating/arresting agency), State Attorney Willie Meggs (the prosecuting agency) and Jack Campbell (Meggs’ prosecutor) were more than likely setting themselves up for some form of backlash—if not criminal charge.
Tallahassee’s crime rate has exploded over the years. The number of unsolved murders in Tallahassee is continuing to grow. Students who may have witnessed crimes are living in fear of going to law enforcement—fear of being wrongfully charged as a perpetrator of a crime or fear of being exploited by WCTV News Reporter Julie Montanaro at the request of local state officials. Even some defense attorneys in Tallahassee are at a lost because they fear for their clients in not getting a fair trial.
In 2013, during DeShon’s trial, Julie Montanaro exploited a female defense witness, who was a college student. Julie Montanaro stated the young woman’s name and place of residence in her reporting. In part, the witness’s testimony gave detailed description of the clothing and a man suspicious behavior that was knocking on the victims’ door on the last night that the victims were known to be alive. The description of the man did not fit the description of DeShon. This same information was provided by the witness to Sheriff’s Deputy Clifton Couch on the same day the victims were found murdered. The witness’s statement/testimony also opened up another suspect and timeline—one that Sheriff Larry Campbell failed to investigate. At no time before or after DeShon’s trial did Julie Montanaro speak with this witness. Because DeShon had not been convicted, WCTV News Reporter Julie Montanaro may have put this young petite woman in the cross-hairs of the real murderer.
In October 2013, this young, God fearing woman, was brave enough to speak out against what local officials theorized. But, as in Mr. Segura’s quadruple murder case, Jack Campbell was so “Hell Bent” on getting DeShon convicted, the grand jury was provided with false information, notarized court documents with known false information was filed into court, sheriff’s deputies, and others committed perjury. State Attorney Willie Meggs and Jack Campbell refused to allow the District Two Medical Examiner’s Office to release the victims’ autopsy reports—hence, not wanting the victims’ time of death to be known by DeShon or the public.
JULIE MONTANARO IS A LOSER!!!!
In July 1, 2017, a bill was passed by Florida State lawmakers that will protect the “Identity of Witness to a Murder.” In part, the bill, “… creates a public record exemption for two years after the date on which the murder is observed by the witness.” Therefore, no witness to a murder will be exploited before or during trial proceedings. And very little information about the witness will be available to the public two years afterwards.
Although the female college student/witness in DeShon’s case did not observe “a murder,” she stood her ground in spite of the fear and other methods of intimidation tactics used by officials and WCTV News Reporter Julie Montanaro.
SIDE NOTE: Prior to DeShon’s trial, Sheriff’s Deputy Clifton Couch resigned from the Leon County Sheriff’s Office possibly due to a dispute that he’d gotten into with Sheriff Larry Campbell. In an effort to conceal Deputy Clifton Couch’s identity and any testimony that he may have provided for the defense, DeShon’s court appointed attorney, Daren Shippy,who is a supervisor with the Office of Criminal Conflict and Civil Regional Counsel Office , purposely issued a court subpoena to the Leon County Sheriff’s Office using the fictitious name, Velveeta Couch (see documents). The subpoena was accepted. This is just one of many ways where local agencies in Tallahassee will work against themselves in order to keep money circulating in their own circle—and ensuring to keep their own people in government positions. DeShon was convicted of Two Counts of 1st Degree Murder and Solicitation to Commit 1st Degree Murder without a shred of physical evidence against him. He was sentenced to Two Life Sentences plus 30 years.
#FSU #FAMU #TCC #STANDYOURGROUND #SAYNOTOBULLYING #WCTVNEWS #FREEDESHONTHOMASNOW #INJUSTICE #WRONGLYCONVICTED