Deke is Sonny's stepfather. The character has been shown in flashbacks, seen through the eyes of a young Michael Corinthos, Jr., who was severely physically, verbally, and emotionally abused by his stepfather. The flashbacks show the features that Sonny remembers the most (uniform, badge, belt, boots, billy club, etc). We have also heard Deke’s voice in the flashbacks, either yelling at Adela or Sonny.
Deke’s real name was Timothy Deacon Woods. He hated being called Timothy and only let people call him Deke. He was a beat cop in Brooklyn, New York. He was a brutal man, both on the police force and at home. He liked to beat perps up until his partners would have to pull him off. He would put handcuffs on people so tight their circulation was cut off.
Sonny vividly remembers the day his mother married Deke. I remember when my mom married Deke. He wore his uniform from the police department. White gloves, badge, everything. He smiled through the whole ceremony. So did my mother. I was happy. What did I know? Sun was shining, I was ring bearer, and there was finally somebody to take care of my mother. She had this light in her face, her smile was beautiful and Deke just slapped that right off her. Not overnight. You know, he kept up the act for a while. A week, a month. Maybe two. And he started to growl. This voice came out of him that we never knew he had. He'd get this look on his face and he'd rake us over with a couple words, you know. And then if you blinked, it was back to normal, like you'd think, was that just my imagination? Pretty soon the dark face was the only one he had. The other one was a mask he was wearing, and it slipped and it slipped until it slipped off.
One of Deke’s partners was Marcus Taggert. Deke was a mentor to Taggert when he was a rookie cop. Deke had helped Taggert out a few years earlier when he was a kid. Taggert idolized Deke and learned everything he knows about being a cop from him. Taggert told his story to Sonny:
“He saved my life that day. He got the D.A. to go easy on me. He told the state I’d be better off with my mother than in custody. He walked me out of the station that day and told me to meet him on the playground on Saturday. He was standing there with a basketball. I told him I was good. He watched me shoot for a while. And then he told me I better choose another profession. See, Deke, he said no education, no life. And then he’d tell me about his wife and how her son ran away and broke her heart. I knew Deke two years before he ever spoke your name. And that was just to let me know you hooked up with some wise guy Scully. Joe Scully.”
At home, Deke would drink a lot. He beat Sonny and Adela on a regular basis. He would lock Sonny in the closet, get drunk, and then severely beat Sonny with a belt. Sonny described going to school all the time with his back on fire and never taking off his shirt in PE class. Sonny developed severe claustrophobia from being constantly locked in the closet. He describes himself and his mother having broken bones and bruises from Deke's beatings. They would never tell anyone how they got their injuries. Sonny has told the story of what Deke would do to them.
“He slapped her a lot. Sometimes he'd grab her by the arm and throw her down or against something. Me, he'd hit. With a belt buckle, usually. He locked me in a closet first, then he'd go and get good and drunk and then I'd hear his footsteps walking down the hall, and he'd open the door. The rule was I couldn't raise my hands. I had to stand there and take it! And if I ran, it made it worse.”
Deke was a cruel man. He was in the military at one time. He used to have Sonny make his bed over and over again until a quarter bounced on it. He refused to let Sonny have a dog. One time Sonny found a stray dog and decided to keep it. He hid it in the garage. One Sunday, when Sonny and his mother returned from church, Sonny found his dog dead. Deke had killed him. He used to tell Sonny he was stupid and would never amount to anything.
Sonny told Kate that his stepfather watched his every move. "I remember trying to figure out every way I could to hide from my stepfather. Because he had eyes on every block, so you know what I did? I just moved further and further and further in the shadows. I would try to figure out every shortcut, fire escape, bins, barrels, even the trunk of a car once.” But Deke always got reports on Sonny, so Sonny continued to get the wrath of his stepfather throughout his childhood.
Sonny left home when he was 16. His mother asked him to leave because of the violence with Deke. When Sonny visited Adela on her birthday, he found her severely beaten up. He was very upset and confided in Joe Scully about how Deke beat him and his mother for years. Joe Scully had Deke murdered the next day, in an alley, shot in the head and heart, a sign that meant he was a corrupt cop and had no honor. Sonny never asked Joe to do this. But, Sonny was very relieved, as he had always wanted to get up the courage to take Deke’s gun out of his drawer and kill him to end their nightmare.
Deke’s abuse of his family went on for eight years. Unfortunately, his reign of terror continues to torment Sonny to this day. Mike has attributed Sonny’s violent temper to his years of living with Deke. Adela’s constant beatings led to her early death. Sonny's claustrophobia continues to effect him. And for someone that is only used as back-story for the history of Sonny, Deke is definitely one of the more memorable characters on the Port Charles canvas.