Sun Sentinel Broward Edition
Man attempts string of flakka-fueled burglaries, cops say Jury convicts two men of first-degree murder
A Lauderhill man was held in jail after attempting a series of burglaries while high on flakka in Oakland Park on Sunday, deputies said.
Anthony Demps, 24, already had five warrants for burglary among several other charges at the time of his arrest at 1:20 p.m. Sunday, according to a Broward Sheriff’s Office arrest report.
When he was arrested, Demps said he was running from a “secret federal government” that was preventing him from seeing his daughter, the report stated. He later mentioned he had been smoking flakka since the previous night, deputies said.
During his five attempted burglaries, Demps cut the screens of four patios and tried to break into four locked sliding glass doors, deputies said. He managed to get into one apartment.
The situation began to unfold when Demps tried – and failed – to break in to an apartment at 116 Lake Emerald Drive around 8:30 a.m., the report stated.
He then scaled upward toward an apartment on the second story of the building, deputies said.
A woman who lives at that unit saw Demps trying to get into the patio and screamed at him. Demps jumped from the second story patio to the ground and ran, and the victims called the police, deputies said.
Demps made his next burglary attempt at another apartment at 114 Lake Emerald Drive, where the sliding glass door was unlocked, according to the ar- rest report.
The residents of that unit found Demps in the kitchen, deputies said. He then ran out of the apartment and the residents called the police.
Demps ran behind the building and tried again at another unit, where the residents of the apartment held the door shut to prevent him from getting in, and one ran after him, according to the report.
While chasing after Demps, the victim saw him trying to break into another apartment, this time at 113 Lake Emerald Drive. When he noticed the victim chasing him, Demps fled to 112 Lake Emerald Drive, the report stated.
The victim and police saw Demps enter the patio through the unlocked screen door and try to open the sliding glass door, deputies said.
Victims identified Demps as the burglar, noting the red backpack he carried, and he was taken to the Florida Medical Center and later to the Broward County Sheriff’s Office Oakland Park District Office, the report stated.
Demps, a convicted felon who said he was living on the streets, was taken to the Broward County Main Jail for processing, deputies said. His bond was set at $300,000, records show.
Demps faces multiple burglary charges.
Tina Deckard rested her head on the bench in front of her and started to cry.
In a straight line, 13 jurors emerged from their chambers at the Palm Beach County Courthouse and took their seats. Three families sat quietly, waiting to hear the fate of Kevin Sammiel and Thomas Byrd.
On Monday, a jury determined that Sammiel, 29, and Byrd, 25, killed Tina Deckard’s son, Dustin, during a robbery in Delray Beach. Both are facing life in prison.
Sammiel and Byrd shot and robbed Dustin Deckard on Aug. 30, 2012 while he was walking down the street just after midnight in Delray Beach. Deckard, a former high school wrestling champion who had moved to the city to battle his drug addiction, was talking on the phone when he was attacked.
A third man, Sherman Colson, is also accused of participating in the crime. He is awaiting trial and has pleaded not guilty.
Shortly after the killing, Boynton Beach police pulled over a silver van that matched the one seen at the crime scene and found the three men with Deckard’s cellphone.
Defense attorneys for Sammiel and Byrd argued that there wasn’t enough evidence to convict their clients, pinning the murder solely on Colson. They said the witnesses in the case didn’t have a good look at who exactly was attacking Deckard or who was driving the van seen at the crime scene. Lawyers argued DNA evidence tying the defendants to the crime was speculative and not 100 percent scientifically sound.
Attorneys for both Sammiel and Byrd said they plan on appealing the conviction.
Family members of Byrd and Sammiel were in tears as the verdict was read. Many rushed out of the courtroom as the trial came to a close.
Deckard’s father, Mike Deckard, was also in attendance. After court recessed, Mike and Tina Deckard held each other and cried while they talked to reporters outside the courtroom.
They said their son was a smart and good kid who got mixed up with drugs.
The family is from New Jersey, and Dustin Deckard moved to Delray Beach after attending two years of college in Delaware. A year before he was killed, he found sobriety, they said, and was thriving.
Before he was killed, he had a relapse and moved into a sober home just days before his attack, Michael Deckard said.
“Unfortunately, he fell victim to a problem that we have in society right now,” he said. “He was a superior athlete and he was, academically, incredible. They’re bad drugs. When you’re young you try things, and unfortunately he tried something that he battled with. ... He fought it hard.”
For the Deckards, seeing Sammiel and Byrd held responsible for their son’s death offers them some sort of closure, though they know they’ll have to relive the experience at Colson’s trial.
“This has been very exhausting,” Michael Deckard said. “But we’re very thankful ... that we were able to come here and to see justice for Dustin. That’s how I look at this. We lost our son and nothing, nothing can ever change that. But at least we know now that these two guys can never hurt anybody or anybody’s family ever again.”