By Julie Montanaro
October 17, 2013, 2:55pm
Deshon Thomas is on the witness stand now testifying in his own defense.
Thomas testified he had known Laqecia Herring since middle school, Thomas said the two dated off an on in 2010 and he moved in with her and her brother in September of that year.
Thomas says they broke up at the end of 2010. He says he initially told Herring he wasn’t ready to be a father, but once Herring decided to keep the baby he changed his mind and at the time of her death he wanted to keep the baby.
Thomas says he was living with a co worker at the time. He says initially they got along good but that changed when He started having sex with his roommate’s girlfriend.
Thomas said the night of the murders he and Herring were texting back and forth and he was going to go see her because he hadn’t seen her in a while.
Thomas says when he got off work at 1:30 he went home, and he and his roommate smoked marijuana.
Thomas said his roommate took his cell phone and went out to sell marijuana to some of his contacts.
Thomas says he fell asleep on the couch and did not wake up until the next morning.
Thomas denied going anywhere that night.
By Julie Montanaro
October 17, 2013, 1pm
Tequila Ursery lived in Wolf Creek in January 2011 in a duplex near Laqecia Herring and Sterling Conner.
She testified she saw a man in a graffiti painted hoodie knocking on their door at about 10 o’clock the night of the murders. She said the hood was up over his head and he was acting very suspiciously.
She said she was startled by the heavy handed knock and got a ‘horrible feeling.”
Ursery says the man was knocking and then someone peeked through the blinds and Sterling opened the door. She says when the man went inside she grabbed her dog, ran home and locked the door.
She says the man was about 5’6 or 5’7″ with a slim build. She says she saw the same man beside the duplex the next night at about the same time. She says he stared right at her and she ran inside.
Ursery said she called the sheriffs office and told them about it.
By Julie Montanaro
October 17, 2013
Defense attorneys are trying to convince the jury that Deshon Thomas was entrapped by law enforcement.
In addition to the murder charges against him, Thomas is accused of trying to hire a fellow gang member to kill a witness.
Thomas’s lawyer played a videotape that showed the alleged hit man writing a letter to Thomas in code. He wrote that letter at the sheriffs office while deputies watched. the paper , envelope and stamp were all provided by the sheriffs office.
The sergeant on that videotape says they had the alleged hit man write the letters to try to get evidence against Deshon Thomas. He testified they did so only after that gang member came to them and claimed Thomas was trying to hire him to kill someone.
Another inmate took the stand and testified the gang member volunteered to kill the witness and told Thomas not to worry about him because he would “take care of that.” The inmate says Thomas never asked him to do it and told the gang member he “wasn’t going to go that way.”
October 17, 2013
By Julie Montanaro
The state has rested its case against Deshon Thomas.
The defense has just called its first witness. Paul Srygley is a defense lawyer who represents Thomas’s roommate. The roommate is the only witness that can place Thomas at the murder scene.
Srygley testified that the roommate was arrested and charged with cultivating marijuana when deputies searched the Killearn apartment he and Thomas shared.
He says the roommate was offered a plea deal in which the judge would withhold adjudication and sentence him to two years probation. He says he requested a better deal given the roommate’s willingness to testify against Deshon Thomas despite a threat on his life.
He says those charges are still pending.
By Julie Montanaro
October 16, 2013
The state has rested its case and the defense will begin tomorrow.
By Julie Montanaro
October 16, 2013
A Tallahassee man is now on trial in the murder of his pregnant girlfriend and her brother.
Ours were the only cameras rolling when a fellow gang member took the stand and claimed Deshon Thomas asked him to kill the only witness to the crime.
We agreed not to identify him.
Deshon Thomas is on trial. He’s accused of killing two people and plotting the murder of a third.
This man, who’s a member of the same notorious gang “the Bloods,” claims Thomas confessed to killing his ex-girlfriend Laqecia Herring and her brother Sterling Conner.
“What did he tell you about his case?”
“Uhm… that he had murdered two people in Tallahassee, a male and female and that he needed somebody to murder his witness.”
Herring and Conner were found shot execution style in their own living room in January 2011.
Herring was 20 weeks pregnant with Thomas’s child.
Prosecutors contend the two had argued repeatedly over Herring’s refusal to abort that baby. but the gang member says Thomas told him it was her brother and his gang activity – that prompted the murders.
“He had initiated the male into the bloods gang and then found out later that he was a Crip, so he killed him because he had intiated him in…and then he killed the female because she was there.”
Thomas is not only facing two counts of murder. He is accused of trying to hire his fellow “Blood” to kill the only witness to the crime. Thomas’s former roommate claims he was sitting in the car outside the Wolf Creek home when the shots were fired.
“Because he’s the only one that can link him to the murders.”
Testimony in the trial is expected to continue tomorrow. We’ll let you know when the jury starts deliberating.
By Julie Montanaro
October 16, 2013, 11:15am
A DNA analyst with the Florida Department of Law Enforcement testified that Deshon Thomas’s DNA was found on the back door of Laquecia Herring’s home.
Analyst Jack Martin says there was a mix of DNA on the door knob, but Thomas was the major DNA contributor on both the inside door knob and outside doorknob.
That back door was ajar when family members arrived and discovered Herring and her brother had been shot to death.
The DNA analyst also conducted a paternity test on Herring’s unborn baby. He testified that the chances that Deshon Thomas was the father were 99.99 percent.
By Julie Montanaro
October 16, 2013, 10am
Tallahassee, FL — The medical examiner is now on the stand describing in great detail the path of the bullets that killed Laquecia Herring and her brother Sterling Conner.
Dr. Clark testified that both were shot twice in the head. He testified that in both cases, the first bullet would have killed them.
Clark said there were no defensive wounds or injuries that would indicate a struggle before Herring or Conner died.
He estimated Herring was 20 weeks pregnant.
The medical examiner was not able to pinpoint an exact time of death.
Deshon Thomas kept his head down while the autopsy photos of a visibly pregnant Herring flashed on a big screen in the courtroom.
By Julie Montanaro
October 15, 2013
A Tallahassee man is accused of killing his pregnant girlfriend because she refused to have an abortion.
Deshon Thomas is now on trial for her murder and her brother’s too.
Tracy Bush couldn’t reach her daughter by phone that morning and when she showed up at her duplex in Wolf Creek, she found her 20 year old daughter Laquecia Herring and 17 year old son Sterling Conner shot to death in the living room.
“I walked over to Quecie and I pushed her arm and told her to wake up,” Tracy Bush said.
And then what happened?
“My (other) son yelled from behind me and he said they’re dead.”
Bush says Laquecia’s 18 month old daughter was sitting on her dead mother’s lap when she first walked inside.
Laquecia’s ex-boyfriend – Deshon Thomas – is now on trial for both the murders.
Investigators say both Herring and Conner were shot twice in the head . Herring was slumped in a living room chair and Conner was beneath blankets in front of the tv.
“There were two comforters over him,” SGT Fred Smelt said as he showed the jury what appeared to be a bullet hole in the blanket.
Investigators unfolded the bloody blankets right in front of the jury and described a quick sucession of gunshots.
“Shoots. Shoots,” Smelt said as he pointed a fake gun.
Thomas’s roommate claims to have heard those shots while he waited in a car outside.
“I heard two big bangs followed by a big semi truck,” the roommate testified.
We are not showing the roommate’s face because prosecutors contend Thomas tried to get a fellow gang member to kill him.
The roommate says Thomas then ran outside, jumped onto the hood of the car and said “go.”
“How did he look?”
“He was pale,” the roommate said.
Prosecutors say they never found the murder weapon, but have Thomas’s DNA on a doorknob and a text message to Herring earlier in the night that said he was coming over after work.
Three different witnesses testified the couple had been arguing over Herring’s pregnancy that day. Prosecutors say she was 20 weeks pregnant with Thomas’s child.
“He didn’t want the baby,” the roommate said.
A videotape of the crime scene – with the bodies still in view – played on the big screen in court. Thomas put his head down on the table and tried to wipe the tears from his face.
The judge sent the jury out while Thomas regained his composure.
Defense attorneys say there are no fingerprints, no murder weapon and the only physical evidence placing Thomas at the scene is DNA on a doorknob. Which isn’t unusual, he said, because Thomas used to live there.
They also questioned the credibility of the roommate’s story.
Defense attorney Darren Shippy pointed out the roommate had been smoking marijuana and drinking vodka all night. He said the roommate initially denied taking Thomas to the murder scene and then later admitted to it.
Testimony is expected to continue tomorrow.
By: Julie Montanaro
October 15, 2013, 11:30am
Deshon Thomas put his head down on the defense table and wiped tears from his face as video of the crime scene played on a big screen in the courtroom.
That video showed Laqecia Herring slumped in a living room chair and her brother Sterling Conner beneath blankets on the floor in front of the television.
The judge told prosecutors to stop the tape and sent the jury out for a break so Thomas could compose himself.
By Julie Montanaro
October 15, 2013
SGT Fred Smelt testified that there were no signs of forced entry at Laquecia Herring and Sterling Conner’s home. He testified there were also no signs of resistance or a fight.
Smelt says he took video of the scene as well as hundreds of still photos. He also the kitchen door was still ajar when deputies got there and he took DNA swabs from both the inside and outside of the door knob.
Smelt testified he believed Herring was shot first and Conner was shot second in quick succession. Smelt said Herring was found in a relaxed position in the chair. If her brother had been shot first, Smelt testified, Herring would have been startled and her feet probably would have instinctively hit the floor.
By: Julie Montanaro
October 15, 2013, 10am
Deshon Thomas is now on trial for the murders of his pregnant girlfriend and her brother. He is also accused of trying to hire a hit man to kill a key witness.
Prosecutors say both Laquecia Herring and her brother Sterling Conner were shot twice in the head with a .38 caliber gun. Assistant State Attorney Jack Campbell says the siblings’ mother found both of them dead in their Wolf Creek home. He told the jury Herring’s 19 month old baby was sitting in her dead mother’s lap.
Prosecutors say Thomas was the father of Herring’s unborn baby. They told the jury Thomas and Herring had split up and Thomas did not want her to keep the baby. They claim Thomas gave Herring money for an abortion, but she refused.
Prosecutors say Thomas’s roommate drove Thomas to the murder scene, heard two shots and then drove Thomas to a dumpster behind a store nearby.
Prosecutors contend Deshon Thomas then tried to convince a fellow gang member to kill his roommate.
Defense attorneys contend his roommate was drunk and high that night and initially denied taking Thomas to the murder scene.
They pointed out his roommate kept changing his story and was upset with Thomas because he was sleeping with his girlfriend.
Defense attorneys say Thomas’s DNA – which was found on the doorknob at Herring’s home – is not incriminating because Thomas used to live there and it makes sense that his DNA was found there.
UPDATED 8.20.2012 by Julie Montanaro
He’s accused of killing his pregnant girlfriend and her brother and now he’s accused of trying to kill a key witness too.
Deshon Thomas is behind bars, but deputies say that didn’t stop him from trying to silence his former roomate who plans to testify against him at his upcoming trial.
Laqecia Herring and Sterling Conner were found shot to death in their Wolf Creek home in January 2011. Herring’s boyfriend, Deshon Thomas, is accused of pulling the trigger.
Now Thomas is accused of trying to arrange murder number three and have a key witness against him killed.
“It could have happened at anytime because the person that was supposed to be doing it was in fact … had made bond and was out,” state attorney Willie Meggs said.
Yet the murder plot started coming unravelled right away. A tip led deputies to a fellow inmate. He claims Thomas asked him to kill his roommate when he got out of jail.
He agreed to cooperate with deputies and once released, he proceeded to answer Thomas’s calls from the jail. They were all recorded.
In one of the phone conversations, the inmate told Thomas “We’re going to get him where he got to be got and get him gone, you understand what I’m saying?”
He went on to say, “We got a bulls eye on the **** ***** … You gonna beat that trial, you’re going to be outta here, you dig?” and Thomas said “Hell yeah.”
Another inmate spoke up too and said Thomas passed him six hand written letters while he was in isolation.
Some of those letters were in gang code, deputies say, and outlined Thomas’s plan to use a woman to lure his roommate to his death and then silence what gang members call a “triple-nine” … a snitch.
“It will clearly have an impact on the murder case,” Meggs said.
We talked to Thomas’s lawyer too. Greg Cummings says he is disappointed and fears this will delay Thomas’s trial. It’s set for October 22nd.
Cummings asked the court to remove him as defense attorney before Thomas was arrested on Friday. He cited an ongoing dispute between him and Thomas’s mother. He says he was not aware of the new solicitation to commit murder charge until this morning.
UPDATED 8.20.2012 noon by Julie Montanaro
A man accused of a Tallahassee double murder is now accused of trying to hire a hit man for one more.
Prosecutors say he was trying to take out a key witness in his upcoming trial.
Deshon Thomas is accused of killing his pregnant girlfriend and her brother. And now, he’s accused of solicitation to commit murder too.
20 year old Laquecia Harring and Sterling Conner were shot and killed in their Wolf Creek Home in January 2011. Deputy’s say while in jail, the suspect Deshon Thomas, met a fellow gang member. Once that fellow gang member bonded out of jail, the two planned a hit on key witness, his roommate. Thomas said his roommate drove him to the scene of the murder and drove him to drop off the murder weapon afterword. He says his roommate started talking after he got busted for drugs.
Deputies say they have a series of letters written in gang code, as well as a series of phone conversations to prove it. Thomas’ lawyer says he’s disappointed and thinks this will delay the October trial.
UPDATED 8.18.12 2:05pm
The man accused of killing a brother and sister in their home now faces another charge.
19-year-old Deshon Thomas was indicted in March of 2011 for the murders of Sterling Conner and Laqecia Herring in their Wolf Creek home, earlier in the year.
Herring was pregnant when she was killed.
Deputies say Herring and Thomas were romantically involved.
The Leon County Sheriff’s Office says the State Attorney’s Office is adding a charge of solicitation to committ first degree murder.
UPDATED 3.9.2011 3:30pm by Julie Montanaro
Deshon Thomas has been indicted on two counts of first degree murder and one count of possession of a firearm by a juvenile delinquent.
UPDATED 3.9.2011 by Julie Montanaro
17 year old Deshon Thomas stands accused of killing a brother and sister in their home in the Wolf Creek subdivision in January.
Now prosecutors are taking the case to a grand jury to try to get a murder indictment against Thomas.
That case is one of two murder cases being considered by a grand jury this morning.
[UPDATE] 2-7 7:00pm
LCSO Makes Arrest in Wolf Creek Murders
On Thursday, January 27, 2011 at approximately 10:25 a.m. the Leon County Sheriff’s Office responded to 1740 Corey Wood Circle in reference to a death investigation. Upon their arrival, deputies discovered Laqecia Herring, 20, and Sterling Conner, Jr. 17, dead inside the residence. Detectives from the Leon County Sheriff’s Office searched the crime scene, canvassed the neighborhood and conducted interviews.
Autopsies performed on Friday, January 28, 2011 confirmed that Conner and Herring both died from gun shot wounds. Herring’s autopsy also confirmed that she was approximately 21 weeks pregnant. Violent Crimes detectives have continued pursuing leads, conducting interviews, serving search warrants and collecting physical evidence since the bodies were discovered.
During this investigation, detectives learned that Deshon Thomas, 17, had been in a relationship with Herring and she was pregnant. Witnesses also told detectives that Herring had discussed having an abortion, but had changed her mind. Detectives learned that Thomas was seen with a firearm before he arrived at the Corey Wood Circle address in the early morning hours of January 27, 2011. Detectives believe Thomas went to Herring and Conner’s residence to discuss their relationship and ultimately shot both Herring and Conner before leaving.
Picture of Thomas is attached.
Detectives Continue Investigating Wolf Creek Deaths
On Thursday, January 27, 2011 at approximately 10:25 a.m. the Leon County Sheriff’s Office responded to 1740 Corey Wood Circle in reference to a death investigation. Upon their arrival, deputies discovered Laqecia Herring, 20, and Sterling Conner, Jr. 17, dead inside the residence.
Detectives from the Violent Crimes Unit and the Crime Scene Unit responded to the scene. Deputies and detectives collected forensic evidence from the crime scene, canvassed the neighborhood and are continuing to conduct interviews.
On Friday, January 28, 2011 detectives confirmed that Herring and Conner, Jr. appear to have been murdered. Autopsies are being performed on both Herring and Conner today and additional information will be available later.
Anyone with information about the deaths of Laqecia Herring and Sterling Conner, Jr. is asked to contact the Leon County Sheriff’s Office at (850) 922-3300 or Crime Stoppers at (850) 574-TIPS(8477). Remember, Crime Stoppers does not want your name, just your information. You may be eligible for up to a $1,000.00 reward.
[UPDATE] 1-28 7:00pm
Deputies say a brother and sister found dead in their home on Thursday were murdered.
The victims have been identified. But, a suspect has not.
Kendrick Hunter says he can’t believe he’ll never see 17-year-old Sterling Conner walk through the doors of Life Skills Center in Tallahassee again.
He received a call Thursday about his former student’s death.
Hunter said, “It was just devastating once I found out that I actually knew him and I actually spent time with him. I counseled him and spoke with him so many times. It was just unbelievable.”
Conner and his sister–20-year-old Laqecia Herring–were found dead inside of their home at 1740 Corey Wood Circle in the Wolf Creek Subdivision off of Highway 20.
Deputies say a family member called 911 around 10:25 Thursday morning.
Detectives confirm that the siblings were murdered, but by who is still a mystery.
Hunter said, “The personality that Conner had, you wouldn’t think that no one would do something like that to him. I mean, soft spoken. I don’t see why someone would go do that to him and his sister.”
Deputies say a one year old child was in the home at the time of the murders. But, say the child was unharmed.
Sharaine Williams is a student at Life Skills. She said, “It’s sad to hear that about Sterling and his sister because they were young, and everyone deserves to live. I’m going to pray for his family.”
Detectives say the child was safely taken from the scene by family– family who friends say have lost two young people too soon.
Autopsies are being performed today on the bodies. Deputies say they hope to be able to release more information on how and when Conner and Herring were killed in the next few days.
[UPDATE] 1-28 Noon –
On Thursday, January 27, 2011 at approximately 10:25 a.m. the Leon County Sheriff’s Office responded to 1740 Corey Wood Circle in reference to a death investigation. Upon their arrival, deputies discovered Laqecia Herring, 20, and Sterling Conner, Jr. 17, dead inside the residence. Detectives from the Violent Crimes Unit and the Crime Scene Unit responded to the scene.
Deputies and detectives collected forensic evidence from the crime scene, canvassed the neighborhood and are continuing to conduct interviews.
On Friday, January 28, 2011 detectives confirmed that Herring and Conner, Jr. appear to have been murdered. Autopsies are being performed on both Herring and Conner today and additional
information will be available later.
Anyone with information about the deaths of Laqecia Herring and Sterling Conner, Jr. is asked to contact the Leon County Sheriff’s Office at (850) 922-3300 or Crime Stoppers at (850) 574- TIPS(8477). Remember, Crime Stoppers does not want your name, just your information. You may be eligible for up to a $1,000.00 reward.
UPDATE 1-27 6:22pm
Leon County Sheriff’s Deputies were out all day at the Wolf Creek Subdivision off of Highway 20…
But, they are not ready to say exactly what happened at this home on the corner…What we do know… is that two people were found dead.
Christina Littles says she didn’t know Leon County Sheriff’s Deputies had a nearby home surrounded by crime scene tape and marked cars… until investigators knocked on her door to ask if she’d heard or seen anything suspicious…
But, what they didn’t tell her was that two bodies were found in the Wolf Creek Subdivision off of Highway 20.
Littles says, “Really? Ah, yeah, they haven’t told me anything. That’s actually very, actually scary. Living that close and knowing that anything could’ve happen; my life could’ve been in danger just as well.”
Deputies were called to 1740 Corey Wood Circle around 10:25 Thursday morning…
They say that’s where they found the two people dead.
Kyle Johnson, a Wolf Creek resident, says, “It’s surprising. I haven’t had any problems around here before. It seems like a pretty peaceful neighborhood. I’ve never seen anything like that before.”
Deputies say it was a family member who dialed 911…Other family members console each other at the scene as they wait for answers. Forensic specialists search for them in front of the home while a K-9 unit works the back.
Michael Gullage, another Wolf Creek resident, adds, “It’s really wierd because since we’ve lived here there’s never really been any cops here. Our neighbors are really nice, we’ve talked to them. It’s just kind of weird.”
Deputies have not released any information on the identities of the two people who were found dead…
They haven’t given their ages…or even if they were male or female.
[UPDATE] 1-27 12:26
LCSO reports that two people have been found dead at 1740 Corey Wood Circle off Highway 20 in the Wolf Creek Subdivision. Investigators are calling the circumstances of the deaths “suspicious” at this time. Stay with WCTV.tv for updates.
The 911 call was made by a family member. The two people who died were the residents of the home.
The Leon County Sheriff’s Office is involved in a death investigating off Highway 20 at Nena Hills Drive and Corey Wood Circle, according to Sgt. James McQuaig with LCSO. Sheriff Campbell is also at the scene. It is not known if deputies are investigating one death or multiple deaths at this time.
WCTV has a reporter on the scene and we will bring you details as they become available.