Posted: May 23, 2016 - 5:18am | Updated: May 23, 2016 - 5:53am
Sheriff Shoar's statement on release of information on Michelle O'Connell.
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By - First Coast News
ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. -- The death of the girlfriend of a St Johns County Sheriff's deputy in 2010 was a murder, not a suicide, according to an attorney for the family of Michelle O'Connell.
The family's attorney tells First Coast News that an independent pathologist examined O'Connell's remains after her body was exhumed earlier this year.
O'Connell's family's attorney says this new information from the third autopsy will be sent to the state medical review board O’Connell is the St. Johns County mother who was found dead from a gunshot wound to the head in 2010.
Her family has always maintained her death was a homicide, and blamed her then-boyfriend, Sheriff’s Deputy Jeremy Banks.
Banks has always maintained his innocence. First Coast News first reported O’Connell’s story in 2012, but it was later picked up by several national news outlets, including Dateline and a joint investigation by The New York Times and Frontline.
O’Connell’s mother Patty O’Connell confirmed to First Coast News that Michelle's body was exhumed in January by private investigator Clue Wright. Wright previously investigated the handling of the case, which had already resulted in internal investigations by the St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office and admissions by Sheriff David Shoar that mistakes were made.
The case also yielded the suspension of FDLE veteran investigator Rusty Rodgers, who remains on leave pending that agency’s probe.
Patty O’Connell said the decision to exhume her daughter was “hard,” but notes she wanted to do it from the beginning, in hopes that further investigation would help the family find “justice.”
Last summer, a third special prosecutor’s investigation found there is no probable cause to suspect O'Connell was murdered.
attinson63 05/23/16 - 07:59 am 21Finding peace
I hope this result finds peace and justice for the family of Michelle O'Connell. I can't imagine the heartbreak of not knowing.
Sheriff DAVID SHOAR has not responded to my request to disclose his medical records. http://cleanupcityofstaugustine.blogspot.com/2016/01/sheriff-david-shoars-medical-records.html
Nor has he responded to questions from The New York Times, The St. Augustine Record, Folio Weekly, PBS Frontline and this blog over the years.
For the facts, not Sheriff SHOAR's "paranoia and fantasy," please read and view the following:
PBS/Frontline, "A Death in St. Augustine (November 26, 2013):http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/death-in-st-augustine/ ;
NBC News Dateline, "Two Shots Fired" (April 18, 2014):http://www.nbcnews.com/dateline/full-episode-two-shots-fired-n84816
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