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Sheriff Shoar welcomes skeptics to read evidence in Michelle O'Connell case 

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Updated: 11/26/2013 10:10 pm
ST. JOHNS COUNTY, Fla. -- A local case is in the national spotlight.  

Over the weekend, the death of Michelle O'Connell was the subject of a New York Times article.  

O'Connell, 24, was found dead of a gunshot wound inside her boyfriend's St. Augustine home in September of 2010.  Her boyfriend, Jeremy Banks, was then, and is now, a deputy with the St. Johns County Sheriff's Office.  

At first, her death was ruled a suicide, then a homicide, then a suicide again.  And the New York Times article cast doubt on the investigation. 

Now, Sheriff David Shoar is firing back.  Not about the article -- he says he hasn't even read it.  

But he's firing back at allegations against his department and his deputy, saying a cover-up was made up by a man he calls a "rogue" FDLE agent.

Sheriff Shoar admitted there were mistakes made when deputies responded to the shooting at Banks' home. 

"Absolutely, there were problems," he said.  He said perhaps his investigators were too quick to determine the death was a suicide, and therefore didn't investigate as thoroughly as they should have.

But he said allegations that the death of O'Connell was anything other than a suicide are completely bogus.

He said, "If I had one doubt that it was anything other than suicide, I'd be investigating it right now."

Shoar himself called the FDLE in to investigate, even after an autopsy showed O'Connell put a gun into her mouth and pulled the trigger. 

"To be honest with you, I had some questions about our investigation," he said. "I saw some things that should have been done that weren't done.  Nothing that would destroy the case."

He said FDLE investigator Rusty Rodgers destroyed the case by manipulating the victim's family members into believing false information that O'Connell had been murdered.

"Anything that that agent touched in this case is contaminated," he said. 

That agent is now under investigation for official misconduct.  

As for the O'Connell case, it's closed.  And to any member of the community that doubts the actions of Deputy Banks or his investigators, the sheriff welcomes you to read the evidence for yourself.

He said, "The people who have done it, honestly, they know the answers."

You can find the O'Connell documents by clicking here.

Banks is back on the police force.  As is Michelle O'Connell's brother, Scott.  

Banks has filed a lawsuit against the FDLE and Special Agent Rusty Rodgers.  
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The views expressed here do not necessarily represent those of Action News Jacksonville

loripend - 4/18/2014 10:00 PM
0 Votes
Sheriff, your links to the case documents 'link' to error messages. More corruption. So obvious.

cheekmo - 12/26/2013 3:25 AM
0 Votes
Based on the principles involved in this kind of case namely law enforcement personnel and a significant other, I believe there is a compelling argument that any case that involves alleged or possible domestic violence involving a member of local/county/state law enforcement should be pursued by federal (FBI) officers with an emphasis on possible civil rights violations. Because the system of reporting violence is designed the way it is, there is no buffer for spouses/partners of law enforcement personnel, therefore there is always the possibility of biases in how cases are investigated and or prosecuted....

Michigan OIDV - 12/2/2013 6:52 PM
0 Votes
Sheriff Shoar - Here is an example of how Michigan handles supposed suicides of officers spouses: On August 30, 2011 Jennifer Webb's lifeless body was discovered hanging at the Buena Vista PD gun range. At first, the Buena Vista PD handled Jennifer's death as a suicide. But when Chief Brian Booker discovered that Jennifer was the girlfriend of one of his married officers - Kenneth Bluew - and that Jennifer was eight months pregnant with Bluew's son, the Chief turned Jennifer's death investigation over to the Michigan State Police. Officer Kenneth Bluew was charged with the murder of Jennifer Webb and the death of his unborn son. On October 11, 2012 he was convicted and sentenced in November 2012 to life in prison. The Michigan State Police's exemplary investigation of Jennifer's supposed suicide, should be mandated protocal for any "suicide" investigation of a police officer's spouse / girlfriend. Check out their investigation at: michiganoidv.blospot.com Why wasn't Michelle afforded the same type of investigation? Or more immportantly, why won't you allow a proper investigation for Michelle? Renee' Harrington - Michigan OIDV

Lifens77 - 12/1/2013 7:37 PM
0 Votes
Sheriff Shoar has the opportunity to acknowledge his department's errors and oversights and his own poor judgement, re-open the case using competent resources and an expert prosecutor and let the jury decide. If he doesn't I'm guessing the federal government will do it for him. And we have to ask where Attorney General Pam Bondi and Governor Scott were in all this? Or did Scott and Bondi feel they needed Shoar's support for re-election?

wuhusoftware - 11/27/2013 9:58 PM
0 Votes
Yes, Mr. Sheriff, I have a question. In your 135 page report, why did you decide to besmirch the reputation of the neighbors who clearly hear an argument between a woman and a woman, the woman calling for help, a gunshot, another call for help, another gunshot, then silence that just HAPPENED to match the crime scene exactly. Are you stating for the record that they are indeed the dopers that you publicly declared them to be or are they instead, augur, prognosticators, diviners, visionaries, fortune tellers, crystal-gazers, clairvoyants, psychics, or mediums to have known about exactly two gunshots? The world waits with baited breath.
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