Deputy opens up on Michelle O’Connell shooting death
Updated On: Nov 18 2015
11:34:10 PM EST
The state law enforcement agent at the center of a long-running debate over the 2010 shooting death of a Saint Augustine woman, Michelle O'Connell, has now decided to speak out.
Medical examiners and independent prosecutors have ruled her death a suicide but O’Connell’s parents, and the lead agent for the state, Rusty Rodgers, insists it was a homicide.
Rodgers was suspended in 2013 accused of using questionable techniques and forming inappropriate connections with O'Connell's family.
Alachua County State Attorney Bill Cervone looked into any charges against Rodgers and said Rodgers made preconceived beliefs or early conclusions as to what happened to O'Connell.
He also said Rodgers engaged in questionable investigative techniques and misled witnesses.
In a letter from Rodgers' lawyer to Florida Gov. Rick Scott, the lawyer said Rodgers is "appalled" by the inaccuracies in Cervone's report and feels, "compelled to correct the misleading or false allegations."
His attorney points out that Rodgers joined the investigation under protest because the sheriff at the time requested him and said he then found himself being, "the scapegoat for an investigation that had already been bungled by the St. Johns County Sheriff's Office."
Rodgers' attorney said this is the only time in his 39-year career that his integrity has been questioned.
Rodgers remains suspended pending the outcome of the FDLE investigation into his actions.
You couldn't get more intriguing facts if John Grisham were writing a novel about St. Johns County. On the defensive, embattled three-term St. Johns County Sheriff DAVID BERNERD SHOAR f/k/a "HOAR" abruptly cancelled a Twitter chat set for 11 am to 1 pm on Thursday, October 8th. SHOAR "postponed" the chat, citing apparent pretextual reasons, after having ducked out of appearing at the "National Night Out" on October 6, 2015 (two days after Michelle O'Connell's 30th birthday. SHOAR f/k/a "HOAR" is as nervous as a proverbial "whore in a Baptist church."As William F. Buckley, Jr. would say, "Why does baloney reject the grinder?"
Everyone concerned about public official integrity is looking forward to questioning Sheriff SHOAR in public on video -- he refused to answer any questions from The New York Times and PBS Frontline in 2013 on the September 2, 2010 shooting of Michelle O'Connell in the home of Deputy JEREMY BANKS, and sequelae. What's next? Looking forward to FBI investigation and Federal Grand Jury probes. Let justice be done. Now.
http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/death-in-st-augustine/ NBC News Dateline , "Two Shots Fired" (April 18, 2014):
Folio Weekly: Jeff Billman, "Somebody's lying -- An activist accuses the St. Augustine Record of bowing to pressure from Jeremy Banks' attorney. The paper accuses her of spreading misinformation" (September 17, 2014), http://folioweekly.com/SOMEBODYS-LYING-ST-AUGUSTINE-RECORD-ACTIVIST-JEREMY-BANKS,10912
Dr. Phil, "The Mystery of Michelle O'Connell" (November 3, 2014): http://www.drphil.com/shows/show/2298
Folio Weekly, "Murder, He Wrote," by Susan Cooper Eastman (November 19, 2014), http://cleanupcityofstaugustine.blogspot.com/2014/11/michelle-oconnell-shooting-read-folio.html
Folio Weekly, "The Proxy War," by Derek Kinner (March 4, 2015): http://cleanupcityofstaugustine.blogspot.com/2015/03/folio-weekly-deputy-jeremy-banks-and.html
New York Times, "Agent Cleared Over 2010 Florida Shooting Inquiry, but Lawyer Lashes Out," by Walt Bogdanich (August 27, 2015)
Photo credit: The New York Times