A Letter From Our Reader Carissa Chambers Regarding Corruption Of Leon County Sheriff Larry Campbell
December 18, 2011
My name is Carissa Chambers, my family and I have been living in Tallahassee, FL for about 11 years. I moved to Tallahassee because I liked the small town atmosphere and it is the home of two major universities. As a single parent, I am the sole provider for my family. I have to work and I have always felt the need to be a part of my children’s education. So naturally I looked forward to the day when all of my kids would attend one of the local universities.
I am writing to you because I want to bring attention back to Tallahassee, AGAIN! The local and national news media are already aware of what happened back in 2008, when Rachel Morningstar Hoffman, a Florida State University graduate was murdered while acting as a police informant for the City of Tallahassee Police Department. Whereas the police had gave this 23 year-old young lady a loaded gun, 1500 ecstasy pills, 2 ounces of cocaine and $13,000 cash to make a deal with two strange men. This beautiful young lady was eager to help the police in order to avoid going to prison for selling small amounts of marijuana to her inner circle of friends. It was during a traffic stop when the police found her in possession of 0.9 ounces of marijuana that put her young life on the fast track to her demise. Sadly, one of the strange men executed her with the same loaded gun that the police had given to her. There are other details that show the incompetence of all of the officers involved in this terrible tragedy. To this day, nobody within the Tallahassee Police Department has been held accountable for their botched operation.
On January 27, 2011, the Leon County Sheriff’s Office started an investigation on a double homicide case. The victims were a 20-year-old young lady and her 17-year-old brother. The young lady was four months pregnant. She was the ex-girlfriend of my 17-year-old son, DeShon Rashard Thomas. She and my son had known each other from middle school, but had recently reacquainted themselves and dated for less than 2 months. After they broke up, she contacted me to let me know that she was pregnant and that she was not going to go through with the pregnancy. I talked to my son and he told me that he was not 100% sure if he fathered her unborn child. His feelings were neutral about her pregnancy (pending a DNA test—this was not the 1st time my son had been named in a paternity situation—in another situation I paid for the DNA test and the results were negative). But because she was so firm about her decision to have an abortion, neither he nor I had any say so.
My son was a 17-year-old Tallahassee Community College student; had a part-time job and had no financial debt what so ever. He had no motive to murder these victims. My son was temporarily (going on 5 weeks) living with a co-worker at the time of the murders. He told me that while he was at work, he and his ex-girlfriend had been texting each other. He told me that the last text message that he received from her was around 11 p.m. He got off from work at 1:30 a.m. He said that when he got off from work he went to his co-worker’s apartment and fell asleep on the couch. Unbeknowest to me, the Leon County Sheriff’s detectives quickly labeled my son as the murderer: stating that he didn’t want the financial responsibility of raising a child. They aggressively pursued him, knowing that there were more people (over 15 to be exact) who had motive to execute these two young victims.
On January 28, 2011, when I had taken my son to the Leon County Sheriff’s office to give a statement. A detective (Det. Odham) immediately approached us with racist verbiage. For over the next 6 hours (despite my protest and informing them that I was going to get an attorney), they would not let us leave; they fabricate stories and deadbolt lock us in a room. (From my understanding a part of this was done under the order of a Captain Swearingen).
While we were being held hostage, the Leon County Sheriff’s office had served a search warrant in pursuit to a homicide investigation on DeShon’s co-worker’s one-bedroom apartment. His co-worker was at work during the search. The sheriff’s office reported that they found 5 pots of soil with stems sprouting out of them in the co-worker’s bedroom closet and baggies and a scale on a table in the living room. The co-worker, who admitted to watering and turning the light on over the stems, never said that they belonged to him or my son. Eventually, they charged and arrested my son for cultivating marijuana and possession of drug paraphernalia (nothing to do with the homicides).
Upon charging and arresting the co-worker for cultivating marijuana and possession of drug paraphernalia, they interrogated him about the double homicide. He denied having any involvement or knowledge about the murders. After 5 days of daily pressure from the sheriff detectives, the co-worker’s story changed.
The report states that the co-worker voluntarily came into the sheriff’s office to give a statement. It says that in the early morning hours, he (the co-worker who does not have a car) drove my son near the residence of the victims. He said that my son had gotten a gun out of the trunk of the car and walked towards the victim’s townhouse, while he waited in the car… The co-worker was not and has not been charged or arrested for anything in relation to the homicides. In fact, one of the detectives that took his statement stated that he felt like the co-worker was not being forthcoming with information. (But the detectives felt like he came forth with enough information for them to charge, arrest, and exploit my 17-year-old son as not only a murderer of two young people, but also that of an unborn baby).
Detective Odham (the same detective who used racist verbiage towards my son and I) became the lead detective over the case. He prepared the Probable Cause Arrest Affidavit. The judge that he used to sign off on the Probable Cause Arrest Affidavit apparently knows what it’s like to be young and make a mistake or two. (During her run for county judge, she had to fight with the legal community and the media to keep her criminal record sealed. With all of the controversy surrounding her, I still voted for her. In this situation, I see her as a piece of collateral damage in all of this mess—simply because Detective Odham left out important text messages that he received from the transcript of the young lady’s text messages—that would’ve made the judge think twice before putting her signature on it). After she signed off on the Probable Cause Arrest Affidavit, my son was charged with double homicide. Later, they charged him with possession of a firearm by a minor. (Though the murder weapon was not found).
Seven months after my son’s arrest, I was given a copy of the Discovery Report. This report entails all of the statements of witnesses, police officers, detectives, and other reports, maps and photos. This report stirred up too many emotions inside of me to discuss them all in this letter/email. The information that was in the report, especially that about an eyewitness who seen a suspicious male being let into the victims’ residence a minute after the murdered young lady had sent my son a text message (which was the last activity from her cell phone), literally made me sick to my stomach. All in all, my son should have never been arrested.
Later I found out that the Detective Odham (the detective who used racist verbiage) was a reserve deputy, as well as a wealthy man. He is also a friend of the sheriff and his command staff. And it’s possible that because Sheriff Larry Campbell or one of his command staffer’s thought that they had this double homicide case in a “nutshell” is probably why they replaced the original and more experienced lead detective with their wealthy friend (Det. Odham). (I thank God for the other detectives that continued to work the case after my son’s arrest. They may have not gotten any information to help their case, but it’s definitely going to help his).
A few months ago, Detective Odham was fired from the sheriff’s office for something that he did while off duty. Now it has been revealed that Detective Odham is a known LIAR. It’s been reported that in some of the cases that he has worked, he left out pertinent information in the probable cause arrest affidavit. And that he lied about another deputy that caused the deputy to lose his job. It has also been revealed that the Leon County Sheriff Larry Campbell has been running a ‘Good Ole Boy System’ for years. He’s been involved with the Leon County Sheriff’s Office in one form or another since 1961. There are articles on the Internet outlining the Leon County Sheriff’s Office as being ‘Good Ole Boy System’; Unethical and Immoral Breeding Grounds; and Campbell’s Corrupt Department. Sheriff Larry Campbell’s son is the Assistant State’s Attorney, it’s been reported that he knew about cover-ups and altering Internal Investigation reports, etc. (see links below)
Not only is Tallahassee the capitol city of Florida, it is a small city with about 8 law enforcement agencies. And although there are many corrupt people in law enforcement, I know that there are some who are true to the meaning of their badge. But at the same time, thousands of families across the nation send their children to Tallahassee to get a pricey education and more. It should not cost any young adult or child their life when they step up to assist a law enforcement agency—no matter what that young adult or child’s past criminal activity may have involved. Remember, 23-year-old Rachel Morningstar Hoffman lost her life. My son, DeShon Rashard Thomas (who is supposed to go on trial in April and is now 18-years-old) is facing a life sentence.
Don’t fool yourself. What happened to Rachel and what happened to DeShon can happen to anybodies child. Why? Because we teach our children (as we were taught): to trust law enforcement officers. So please, help me to not only expose the Leon County Sheriff Larry Campbell and all of those acting under his direction in a corrupt manner, including his son, Assistant State’s Attorney Jack Campbell, but also to successfully remove these types of “Hypocrites with badges” off of the taxpayers’ bill. Our tax dollars should not support their ignorant behavior.
In closing, if you would like a copy of some of the statements in the Discovery Report, please do not hesitate to contact me.
God is an awesome God! Thank you for your time.