Together We Can Achieve Justice for Michelle! Testing from shwetha

The Florida Department of Law Enforcement believes without a doubt that Michelle's death was a homicide and still State Attorney, Brad King refuses to take this case to a grand jury. In March of 2012 the FDLE wrote to King: "
It is my office's opinion based on the facts of this case and your memorandum that this case clearly warrants an Inquest into the death of Michelle O'Connell…"

Important information in relation to the death investigation of Michelle O’Connell

1) Conflict of interest by investigating one of their own, the family asked for an outside investigation immediately after Michelle’s death.

2) Independent outside experts trash Sheriff David Shoar's handling of the case. They were not paid, and had no connection to any of the parties, unlike Sheriff Shoar's friends who he hired/paid and who did NOT EVALUATE the underlying evidence, only Sheriff Shoar's misrepresentations in his 153 page report.

3) Jeremy was given access and admits to reading the report before his formal interview at the Sheriff’s Department.

4) No testing was done to determine Jeremy’s blood alcohol level and he was allowed to sober up for 2 hours prior to being interviewed. Jeremy was also allowed to socialize with family, friends and coworkers before he was later  interviewed in a police car with his Sergeant present. Since when are people allowed to sit in on interviews. 

4) Dr. Hobin changed his mind multiple times and even amended Michelle’s death certificate to show the cause of death was Shot by other and the manner of death was homicide” 

5) Dr. Bulic’s contention re “no defensive wounds” cannot be asserted as such. NY Times and Frontlines experts, including a facial reconstruction expert that was consulted, viewed the cut and bruise above her eye as a defensive wound, and there are likely others, including: Michelle’s broken tooth (see autopsy photo) just to the right of her front tooth – and also other facial injuries such as the vertical cut on her upper lip. 

6) Dr. Bulic’s contention that the “measurement of the eye contusion to the mouth is the exact same” (he says 3 inches) is wrong. First of all the measurement of the gun’s muzzle to the top of the slide is not 3” – it’s 2 3/16 inches. Furthermore Dr. Bulic never measured the exact distance from Michelle’s mouth to the top of her eye – he only measured it on a photo, with her mouth closed -- which is almost certainly more than 3”. Dr. Bulic
opinion is almost forensically impossible. (New York Times and Frontline had a young woman Michelle’s height and weight put a replica of the gun in her mouth vertically and it came nowhere near the bottom of her eye, let alone above her eye. 

7) Guns recoil, they don't kick forward, according to real ballistics experts and tests shown on frontline.

8) Dr. Bulic’s contention that Michelle held the gun upside and vertically when she allegedly shot herself is inaccurate. As Jerry Findley has pointed out -- which Frontline and NY Times hired investigators to also test themselves -- If Michelle held the gun upside down the shell casings would have landed on the opposite side of the room from where they were found.

9) The bullet entered Michelle’s mouth on top of the tongue. Conventionally, that has been used to indicate a homicide and not consistent with suicide. Furthermore, some experts say a shot on top of the tongue suggests she may have been vocalizing when she was shot. This would collaborate the witness’s statements that they heard screams for help.

10) Re trajectory: Dr. Hobin noted the trajectory of the bullet was slightly down. Jerry Findley also made this point in his power point presentation, included in Rusty Roger’s power point. Recent studies have shown that a 
downward bullet trajectory is NOT consistent with suicide.

11) Two ear witnesses who passed lie detector tests say they heard a woman screaming for help, followed by 2 gun shots. Banks said neither he nor Michelle raised their voices that evening, this contradicts his statement.

12) Sheriff Shoar lied when he said in his report that the two ear witnesses were smoking pot that night, his dishonest attempt to discredit them. He has since withdrawn that charge and there is nothing in any records that back up this statement.

13) Dr. Bulic, the medical examiner, couldn't pull the gun out of a retention holster, so how could Michelle do that quickly when she had no experience handling guns. There were several rifles and shotguns that were nearby, it is unlikely that Michelle could defeat a level 3 retention holster especially in the little amount of time she would have had. It seems more likely if she was in fact contemplating suicide she would have chosen one of the other guns that were near her.

14) The placement of the shell casings suggest Michelle was shot by a left handed shooter, Michelle was right handed. The only other person in the house that night, Jeremy Banks is left handed.

15) Scene Reconstruction Specialist and Blood Splatter Expert, Dr. Jerry concluded: Ms. O'Connell was in a sitting or kneeling position when the shot was fired. The weapon would not have fallen in that location. The spinal cord was severed, precluding any movement of her hands after the injury.

16) Michelle fell back and did not change position. This is based on the blood flow on her face.

17) The blood on the duty belt is inconsistent with the lack of blood between her body and the duty belt.

18) The absence of blood on her left arm and sleeve is not consistent with her using her left hand to fire the weapon. This is based on the injury to the left corner of her mouth which would have left impact stains on her left arm had she used her left hand to fire the weapon.

19) The presence of impact stains on her right arm and sleeve is consistent with a defensive posture.

20) Ms. O'Connell's blood is located on the inside of the yellow t-shirt that  J. Banks had on that night, however, the photographs are not clear enough to determine the pattern type.

21) Jeremy Banks has a known history of anger and violence which gets worse when he is drinking. Jeremy had drank several “large” beers the night  of Michelle’s death as he states in his interviews and he states he rode in
the back of the car and Michelle drove home because Jeremy was too drunk to drive.

22) Danny Harmon, the owner of a local bar called Ring of Fire states that Jeremy visited his bar on the night of September 3, 2010 with a friend John Mahlow around 10:30 and was making disturbing statements about Michelle. Mr. Harmon states Jeremy said That B***h got what she deserved; he was moving on with his life and wasn’t going to let her bring him down anymore.  According to Mr. Harmon Jeremy was expressing frustration with Michelle’s family over there complaints about him updating his facebook status with the score of the Tampa Ray’s game, the family can collaborate this is something they had spoken with Jeremy about that day as they felt it was distasteful since Michelle had only died the day before.

23) A second employee of the bar Ring of Fire, Mr. Morgan Robinson has collaborated Mr. Danny Harmon’s story. Mr. Robinson says he served Mr. Banks and his friend John Mallow drinks that night and that Danny pulled him aside and informed him of the statements Jeremy had made.

24) No suicide note was found. When Michelle went sky diving in Hawaii Michelle took the time to write a note to Alexis just in case anything went wrong, it is very doubtful that Michelle would not leave a note and Michelle’s 
family and friends are certain that Michelle would never leave her young daughter behind as an orphan, Michelle looked forward to watching Alexis start kindergarten and see Alexis grow up to become a young lady. 

25) Michelle had recently made a schedule change at work for an upcoming CPR class. Michelle was recently promoted to fulltime with benefits at the childcare, this was a dream come true for Michelle and she was looking forward to getting benefits and a higher salary. Michelle was in the process of filling out health insurance forms. All of this suggests Michelle was planning for her future, not contemplating suicide.

26) Michelle’s boss that worked with her the day of Michelle’s death says Michelle was happy and upbeat that day and states that Michelle was extremely excited about her new promotion and was looking forward to advancement at her job.

27) There is a shirt with obvious blood clotting on it and what appears to be a gunshot hole through the shirt with possible GSR on it. This shirt was photographed on the bed above Michelle’s head and was later photographed in a pile of trash to be discarded. Amy Tigdon took the photographs, we feel she should be interviewed and questioned regarding this shirt and we also feel others at the scene should be interviewed to figure out who discarded it and why.

28) Michelle was packing her bags to leave and it was her decision to leave Jeremy. When leaving an abusive relationship this is one of the most dangerous times for a woman. 

29) Michelle’s daughter Alexis was interviewed by Melody Litton at the University of Florida Child Protection team. This interview concluded that Alexis was a victim of domestic violence by Jeremy and that Alexis was a
witness to her mother being abused by Jeremy banks. 

30) None of Jeremy Banks DNA was found on the weapon that was used in Michelle’s death. This was Jeremy’s duty weapon that he had worn to work that very day, it is unusual that it had none of his DNA on the gun.

31) Officers at the crime scene said it did not look good for Jeremy and that he would have questions to answer. Although this was the opinion of some of the officers, the crime scene was still not preserved and Michelle’s death was immediately deemed a suicide. SJSO’s premature assumption of suicide severally hindered the investigation.

32) Jeremy had only a very small amount of GSR on him, less than the size of a germ. This is unusual; typically if you enter a room within 8 minutes of a gunshot you will get GSR on your clothes etc. In addition, Jeremy states he held Michelle’s hand, if this is true he should have gotten some GSR on his hand from cross contamination. 

33) One of the officers that were on the scene, Deputy Maynard later stated that Jeremy smelled of a fresh shower.

34) Statistics show woman are more likely to commit suicide by drug over dose rather than by shooting themselves. Michelle had a pocket full of pills, more than enough to take her life. The pill bottles were in the top of Michelle’s purse and almost appeared to be staged, they were prescribed to Jeremy Banks. Her Toxicology report came back negative for any drugs.

35) Two lead detectives from St. Johns County Sheriff’s office that handled Michelle’s case had worked just three homicides between them, one supervisor had been disciplined for an “inept” investigation of an attempted murder, records show.

 36) Sergeant Scott Beaver states “I mean, I was in the homicide unit for a few years, and it didn’t add up but I didn’t do more investigation into this to see why things were like they were.” SJSO botched this investigation from the beginning and failed to preserve and collect several crucial pieces of crime scene evidence. Though investigators collected the gun, clothing and other evidence, they never tested it for fingerprints, DNA or gunshot residue. Officers also failed to canvass neighbors; failed to file required reports on what officers had seen that night; failed to download Mr. Banks’s cellphone data or collect and test one of the shirts he wore that night and also failed to isolate and photograph Mr. Banks before he was interviewed.

37) Hours before she died, Ms. O’Connell left her mother a voice mail message, saying she would call the next day to make breakfast plans. She also stopped for lunch at Christine O’Connell’s apartment and informed her
sister she would be leaving Jeremy; she went on to detail the negative history of the relationship and informed Chrissy of the abuse she had experienced.

38) State Attorney, Mr. Brad King asked a former medical examiner in his district, Dr. Steven Cogswell, to review the case. As a military pathologist in the mid-1990s, Dr. Cogswell had been criticized for concluding that Commerce Secretary Ron Brown had been shot in the head before his plane crashed in Croatia, killing all aboard. Air Force officials categorically rejected his finding. Asked about the O’Connell case in an interview, Dr. Cogswell said he could not recall it in detail.

39) Dr. Bulic never issued an official report on Michelle O’Connell’s death, stating he had not done so because the case was actually Dr. Hobin’s. He said he had looked into the case “out of my pure curiosity and to satisfy the many different people who came and asked about my opinion.”

40) In the prosecutor’s memo, investigators wrote that Mr. Findley had not considered the upside-down-gun theory. “That’s a lie,” Mr. Findley said. “I did consider that, and like I told them, I ruled it out fairly fast,” because guns recoil after firing and the shells would have ejected in the opposite direction from where they were found. That was affirmed in several tests conducted by Mr. Diaczuk, one of the specialists that looked at the case for Frontline.

41) During Jeremy Banks interview Agent Rodgers asks J. Banks if he agrees that the location of the gun could not have fallen in the position found and forensic experts have stated the gun was staged or placed. Agent Rodgers goes on to say, “Do you agree?” J. Banks replied (uh huh). Agent Rodgers asked J. Banks, “Do you see the logic in that?” (Banks responds, “Yes”) and  “Do you agree with that, though?” Banks responds again (Yes, by shaking his head). Jeremy answers yes to the question saying that he can agree that the crime scene was staged, this is extremely odd. Why was he never challenged or further questioned about this?

Please watch the PBS Frontline documentary: “A Death in St. Augustine” 

Read the New York Times investigation “
Two Gunshots on a Summer Night” 
Read the FDLE
request for a coroner's inquest. 

Michelle's Family and Friends would like to thank all 184,918 people who added their name to our petition and helped spread the word.
On September 30, 2014 Governor Rick Scott announced the reappointment of Michelle's case to special prosecutor Jeff Ashton. Thank you all!


Forensic Findings:

Excerpt from Florida Department of Law Enforcement's Special Agent in Charge, Dominick
D. Pape, to Florida's State Attorney Brad King on March 28, 2012:

"Dear Mr. King, After meeting with your staff on March 15, 2012 and reviewing your office's final memorandum, I understand your position that the facts as they currently exist do not support the prosecution of Jeremy Banks for any homicide offense. It is my office's opinion based on the facts of this case and your memorandum that this case clearly warrants an Inquest into the death of Michelle O'Connell pursuant to Chapter
936.003, Florida Statutes..."


Scene Reconstruction Specialist and Blood Splatter Expert, Dr. Jerry concluded: Ms. O'Connell was in a
sitting or kneeling position when the shot was fired. The weapon would not have fallen in that location. The spinal cord was severed, precluding any movement of her hands after the injury.
She fell back and did not change position. This is based on the blood flow on her face.

She was struck above her right eye by the front sight of the weapon.

The blood on the duty belt is inconsistent with the lack of blood between her body and the duty belt.

The lack of J. Banks' DNA on the weapon is suspicious because it is his duty weapon.

IF Ms. O'Connell fired the weapon, it would have to be with her left hand in order for the shell casing to land where it was recovered. Her left hand would be the weaker as she was right-handed.

The combat light was turned on, this requires two actions.

The absence of blood on her left arm and sleeve is not consistent with her using her left hand to fire
the weapon. This is based on the injury to the left corner of her mouth which would have left impact stains on her left arm had she used her left hand to fire the weapon.

The presence of impact stains on her right arm and sleeve is consistent with a defensive posture.

One shot was fired into the floor to the right and close to her body. The wound track is front to rear and slightly
There are two eyewitnesses who stated they heard a woman cry for help, then a shot, another cry for help, and

Ms. O'Connell's blood is located on the inside of the yellow t-shirt that J. Banks had on that night, however, the photographs are not clear enough to determine the pattern type.

The above information and the totality of the circumstances are not consistent with suicide,
they are consistent with homicide.

FDLE  investigation, Case # JA-73-1483, Serial #128 Univ. of Florida Child Protection Team Senior Case Manager concluded based on an interview with Alexis that:

"Alexis was exposed to Domestic violence by  J Banks, Alexis substained an injury from physical discipline by Banks,  which would constitute physical abuse, Alexis was present when Banks hit Michelle with a belt, and jumped on her Mother" 


Anonymous Commented:
Is that the deputy in his Sheriffs Office uniform? That can't be exemplary behavior?

Concerned Commented:
It  is very alarming to see he has abused a child and is still allowed to  be a police officer. These are the
people that protect us, pretty scary!!!

anonymous St. Augustine Commented:
I went to school with both Michelle and Jeremy. I do not in NO way think Michelle would have done this!!!! 
She needs justice!!!!

Shocked Scared Commented:
This case is so obviously a homicide covered up by SJCSO. They too should be  liable for Employing Jeremy Banks, who had warning signs as a dangerous person before he took Michelle's life. Is this why they worked  so hard to cover this murder? Is it for fear of liability? Shame on  you Sheriff Shoar. 

Sara Bruce Commented:
It is hardly  unbelievable that this police department (or any for that matter) would  cover something like this up to save face... and yet they expect/want  the public to support and trust them. How do I teach my children to  trust that the police are here to help them when they could possibly be connecting with a bad apple (or barrel of them in this case)?? Doing what is right reguardless of whether it is popular or bad press  producing should
take presidence... Justice for Michelle!

Jennifer Reyes Commented:
God gained an Angel, now St. Johns County needs a new inmate!!!! Justice For Michelle!!!

Riley Watters Commented:
Dear  Website Administrator, Please e-mail this link to Sheriff Shoar  DShoar@sjso.org, so that he may see the uniform he provided Deputy Jeremy Banks being disgraced. I am offended that he would even take a picture  while flicking the bird in HIS ISSUED SJSO UNIFORM !!! The Sheriff must see this. Maybe then the true colors of 
Deputy Banks will be brought to light. Is this what the tax payers of St. Johns County get when they call for assistance ?

Website Administrator Commented:
@Riley I will do that now!

Website Administrative commented: This is confirmation that Sheriff  Shoar received and read my message.. I did not recieve a reply. Your  message    To:  David Shoar   Subject: unhappy citizens of St. Johns County 
Sent:    Fri, 10 Aug 2012 23:52:51 -0400  was read on Sat, 11 Aug 2012 20:59:36 -0400

Bob Angley Commented:
Justice for Michelle.

Shelby T. Commented:
A  Haiku for Michelle: beautiful michelle love endures, we  pray for you  we lift high your name Will those in power hear our cries? Or will they  continue to gn over the weak and tired and poor, and ignore the rights   they say they uphold AND Constitutional oaths they swore to. You may  believe in  Karma, you may not. But when those in power rest at night,  do they sleep soundly? Many men in power fear doing the right thing in  fear they will lose heir power. We must never stop the peaceful  questioning of authority, through  peaceful manners. Remember the  dangerous plight of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. who triumphed against the  tyrants and prejudice powerful. He must be the example  we follow in  our pursuit of justice for Michelle O'Connell. And we will always   remember the lives of those taken at the hands of Domestic Violence.  Keep  burning your candles of peace and pray for their families;  especially Patty  O'Connell. A mother who was walked through the depths  of hell to be heard but was silenced. She did not waver, she did not  give up. She will always seek peace and pray for those in power. God is  their ultimate judge, from whom they will  not be able to hide from. And  unlike those involved in this case he will not  cower or hide. He will  come forth and render justice. Do not be afraid. Our beautiful Michelle,  we lift you up and we hold you in our hearts. They can strip  us of our  rights, But they
can never remove our spirits and faith, and   commitment to you. Justice through peace. God Bless.

Bob Johnson Commented:
Two  years have passed with no action. It's time that "We The People" stand  up and be counted... We all need to send emails post every blog and work  the social media for all it's worth. Don't just do it once keep on   posting until everyone has seen it. We need to support the O'Connells in their quest for justice. Here is a place to start... Please send an  email to  bking@sao5.org all you have to write is "Justice for Michelle"  Also, please share this post. This could really make a difference in  getting a grand jury convened. PLEASE! Facebook could really make a  difference in this case.

Deon Gates Commented:
Justice for Michelle (and so many others just like her). 
J. O. Commented:
The  Betty Griffin House is correct in saying "It takes a community to end  Domestic Violence". This
statement begs local leaders, advocates, and  people like you and I to bring forth our stories so that victim's   rights are not wasted. Sheriff Shoar, State Attorney RJ Larizza,  and Brad King  (the power players in this case), refuse to talk about  this case. They know if they do they will be embarrassed by their actions. Additionally, they will be more embarrassed by their  inactions. The facts backed and supported by forensic  evidence, experts in respective criminal justice disciplines, and investigative  reports compiled by the Florida Department of  Law Enforcement all lead a  logical  and prudent person to probable cause. This probable cause supports the decision  to call for a Grand Jury. If it’s politics  they want removed, then a Grand Jury  is the best place to do that. The people hear the arguments. The people hear the  case argued by the FDLE  team, criminal justice experts, and here’s the kicker;  SJSO Deputy  Jeremy Banks’ attorney too. his is the definition of fairness.
The   decision to call a Grand Jury tells the people of this community, this  State,  and this Nation, that they will be heard and provided their  rights accordingly.  This is the fairest way for the justice system to  prevail. If an indictment is  reached, those who tried to sweep this case  under the rug will be held  accountable. But
more importantly,  residents of this town will regain faith in  the CJ system. A system  that is broke down right now. A system that is in need  of repair. A  system that can and must be turned around. Folks,
there is a  problem  when a young woman dies at the hand of violence and those who control   the process and decision making close the door to the notion of  accessibility to  justice. A Grand jury guarantees nothing more than the  opportunity to justice.  Shame on you RJ. You punted the ball  to another jurisdiction when you were first  and 10 at the Goal line of  doing the right thing. You had all the facts,  questions, and answers  you needed, yet you let your political connections guide  your decision  making. You can shell out money with clever slogans on signs that  you  place around town, but the truth is you are a politician. A true  prosecutor  never punts on first and 10, but you did! A true prosecutor  marches down the  field of justice until victory is obtained. You  entered your position on the  heels of corruption in 2008 and you must  now leave office under the same arena.  The time for change is now! A  new idea, a new commitment, and a new plan to put  people before  political futures is needed in St. Johns County. This Tuesday,  August  14th., don’t just send RJ an e-mail that he is no longer wanted, send  him  packing for good by voting for Stasia Warren. *** Please feel free  to share this on other blogs, news stories, and links. ***

Creekside Cruiser  Commented:
My  understanding of the States Attorney and his office was to represent  the public, the people who have an interest in seeing justice prevail.  Isn't Brad King the Chief Advisor to the rand Jury we all so desperately  call upon. Brad King has sufficient, admissible evidence. It's his job  to coordinate with law enforcement, not insult  them, and call their  work"theory." After all, its his own  jurisdictional, Former Chief  Medical Examiner, Cogswell, who won't author a report on his ruling of  suicide. He wasn't present at autopsy either. When did FDLE get to 
question his "theory?" That's right he gave an opinion, a theory, and  then disappeared into thin air. Did he put his explanation in  writing? Brad King, are you a former police officer yourself? If  so,that's not a conflict? Right now, your county has enough issues of  its own, no need to continue to dirty the water more in St. Johns  County. We will get justice in court, it will be criminal court. The day  you remove yourself from officoe, is  the day the legal system can come  up for a breath of fresh air. What is Brad Kings opinion in the  fact that St
Augustine States Attorneys Office Investigators wanted to exume her body. The fact they were ready to proceed with  recommending  charges to be filed. How then do you come to an entirely different   conclusion. Did you even have all the facts in March of 2012, from your investigator? Did he speak with the investigators from R.J  Larizzas office?  Where are those notes? Where is your offices work  product? You called the eye witnesses, "solicited" , however, the  polygraphs they passed were Secret Service/FBI standards, I dare you to  say, no deception indicted, was solicited.  You wouldn't dare, that  would be the end of your career, as a "career  politician." A grand jury  is the only way to prove that 20 unbiased people  can see all of the  evidence from both sides, and come up with their own "theory", I mean  conclusion.

L L  Commented:
This  whole story reeks of a cover-up. It amazes me how a badge can also serve  as a halloween mask!!! 2 shots fired? So is that the norm? So what you  are saying is that before someone commits suicide they fire a warning  shot? C'MON? This piece of human trash must be charged. Coward. Hiding  behind the badge...

Brad king Is a joke Commented:
Please email Brad King and tell him Justice for Michelle! His  email address is BKing@sao5.org I email him once a day!

Peg Wallace-Carlson Commented:
The  picture does not lie. It is  disgusting, shameful, and it proves that  certain persons can get a way with 
everything and not be held accountable.

Riley Watters Commented:
Any reply from Sheriff Shoar ??

Website Administrative commented: This is confirmation that Sheriff Shoar recieved and read my message.. I did not recieve a reply.

Your  message    To:     David Shoar   Subject: unhappy citizens of St. Johns
County  Sent: Fri, 10 Aug 2012 23:52:51 -0400  was  read on Sat, 11 Aug 2012  20:59:36 -0400 
Fire Shoar  Commented:
Shame  on you Sheriff Shoar. All of this evidence proves you  have a murderer  working for you and instead of firing him and apologizing, you  protect  him, to protect your own job. Once all of the evidence is out you will   have to face the people of St. Johns county. I hope you do the  right thing.

Vickie Wilson Commented:
there  is no justice when a corrupt county covers up an investigation into a  death, if it was YOUR daughter would there be an investigation? I was an  abuse victim and a piece of paper telling the perp to stay away does  not work! Exspecially when he IS law enforcement and to know he is on the street Are you kidding me? how will HE handle future domestic Calls, what right does he have to govern the county, this is horrible and  to her family I am so sorry that "Lady Justice" is so blind in this  case, furthermore the  picture of him flipping the
finger in his Offical uniform, says it all, We as  the people demand an unbias investigation, called a grand jury, we r getting the media involved alol the way to  Nancy Grace, she loves communities that hide behind the code of silence with the department. JUSTICE FOR MICHELLE NOW NOT LATER!

George K Commented:
Two deputies let go, one for stalking and one for domestic  violence but the one accused of killing Michelle is still on the force. Let it go to the grand jury and if he is innocent so be it. If he is guilty than let the law take its course but at least give the family some closure.  Especially if  the FDLE has asked for a Grand Jury Investigation  let the Grand Jury decide than  the pressure is off the sheriff and his office. Thank you

Deborah Jerolman Commented:
No mother shoots herself leaving her daughter behind by her own hand with her boyfriend's gun!!! People that sleep at night when they have committed  a murder or know that they are preventing JUSTICE in a murder case should know that what comes around goes around...eventually  YOU will pay for your crimes. A VICTIM'S LOST LIFE BECOMES AN ANGEL IN  HEAVEN. Michelle's life and voice should not be in vain on earth,  either. In God's eyes and hands......you can never hide

Victim  Advocate Commented:
The Florida  Legislatures Office of Program Policy Analysis & Government Accountability :
State  Attorneys are to represent the State  of Florida. State Attorneys can  generate a criminal case by several 
different ways:  Grand Jury  Investigations~The function of the Grand Jury in criminal matters is to investigate and determine whether there is sufficient evidence to  justify an  indictment against an accused. The grand jury must ascertain whether there is  probable cause that a crime has been commited by the person so accused. If it  determines the evidence is sufficient to  constitute probable cause, the grand jury issues an indictment on which the accused will be put on trial. The  voice  of the people(grand  jury) should ascertain whether there is
probable cause and  sufficient evidence, not just one man(Marion County State Atty Brad King) who happens to be an ex law enforcement officer, the same profession as  the person of interest. What would happen if a grand jury found probable cause and  sufficient evidence as proposed to them by  another State Attorney, ( without any  further investigating)and  provided an indictment? The Governor,Rick Scott, must put this issue, this distrust of law enforcement, this lack of safety for St. Johns County, this liability, before the people, he must intervene, and appoint  a Prosecuter to present the evidence as it stands accordingly, before a grand jury. Advocate for Victims: they're voices are longer  heard. 

Ron Guarnieri Commented:
This  death screams for the attention of Pam Bondi and everyone in law  enforcement and those who take an oath of office. It stinks and if you do nothing, you stink with it.

Oswald Mouse Commented:
Did  some research on the SJCSO policy manual. Policy 26.1.87 states  "conduct unbecoming an officer which may not be specifically set forth  in these rules and regulations" and policy 26.1.70 states performing  any acts or making any written or verbal statements which tend to bring the SJSO into disrepute or ridicule or which tend to interfere with the  reasonable supervision or proper discipline of the SJSO." Doesn't Banks  (above) violate these policies? (BTW) anyone can check out a policy manual..go get one!

D Bell Commented:
I have  just emailed  Sheriff Shoar AND State Attorney Brad King about this  disgraceful injustice! I am a resident of St. Johns County (and made  sure they both knew it). THIS is the face of law enforcement in St.  Johns County???! As a resident, I certainly do not feel safe with a man like this in the powerful position of law enforcement. He is obviously above the law. Our elected officials NEED TO DO THEIR JOB! If this man  is innocent, then he has nothing to fear.

Fight For Justice Commented:
So Drew Petterson finally convicted gives me hope that someday we will have Justice for Michelle.

ray glover Commented: 
get  them all out of office. put people in who care for the  well being of others instead of who is rep. or dem. lets take our country and our pride back. we have become a nation of wimps

Ryan Thompson Commented:
Get  Justice!!

Deon Gates Commented:
Michelle has PEOPLE who are going to see this through.

Elise Jaudon Commented:
This  incident has sent chills down my spine. As the mother of a 9year old son I can't help feeling lost. I try to teach my son that law  enforcement officers are here to help and protect us. What  am I  supposed to do when the very people that are bound by duty to  protect my  little one are quite literally GETTING AWAY WITH MURDER?

Ciara Morris Commented:
Michelle  was a fun loving person, she loved her daughter more than anything  in the world, our  slogan was "when one door closes another one opens,  you never know what tomorrow may bring" infact that was her myspace  profile about me section. Michelle loved life, I know in my mind and  heart that she wouldn't leave
Alexis but that is not what I base my  judgement on. I base my judgement on FORENSIC EVIDENCE. Yes evidence,  that is the important factor in this case... when Florida Department of  Law Enforcement did their investigation they concluded it as a homicide,  these people were the EXPERTS brought in to CLEAR Jeremy and they found  him GUILTY. Yet we are still denied a grand jury. Please add your name  to our petition to convene a grandjury. Justice should be served and we  all deserve to have this criminal taken off the police force.

Ivey Schulkers Commented:
I am praying for justice for Michelle and even more  for the daughter and family/friends left behind.

Anonymous Victim of SJSO Commented:
I  too have been victimized by the self-serving alliance between SJSO and  the state's attorney's office. I know just how you feel. I thought the  rapture had happened, I got left behind, and the devil was in charge. My  whole world was destroyed by the same cynical machine that uses  its power to cover up for Jeremy Banks. In my case, they used that same  power unashamedly and self-righteously to convict an innocent man. I  quickly learned,  as you have, that their idea of an "investigation" is  not a search for truth, it's just a way to stack the cards. The paper  will take whatever the pen puts on  it. Eight years ago, I watched  helplessly as a corrupt system took away my  husband, my family, my  home, everything. It's a daily struggle to move on, to get past all  that. Michelle's case opened old wounds. I have followed it  closely,  feeling so much rekindled anger
along with commiseration with Michelle's family. Imagine my horror and outrage when that murderer,  Jeremy Banks, showed up at my door in his SJSO uniform (which I've come  to detest) to take a routine police report on a minor issue. I told him  to get the hell off  my  property. I didn't need a police report THAT  badly. DON'T GIVE UP! Keep  fighting. You have a very strong ally that I  sadly lacked - popular opinion is  on your
side. There are a lot of  people out here who believe Michelle's memory got railroaded just to  save the hide of a bad cop. A murderer, whom they blithely send out in a  patrol car, with a gun, to "protect and serve". Why would  anybody  trust any of them?

Dori GArdner Commented:
Sounds  like this story has to become a Lifetime movie to prompt these  officials into finally responding with appropriate measures to pursue  Banks as the only viable suspect. Hopefully citizens will act sooner  and take advantage of the only options left to the public, as voters,  expressing the  results of this inaction, by making the
necessary  changes in the "power and control" officials that are chosen. People  must use their voices to demand accountability from everyone, regardless  of means or community standing. 

Gidget From The Block Commented:
I  pray for the O'Connell family, especially for Justice For Michelle.  Shame on you Sheriff Hoar (and that it his
original name before  he cowardly changed it) and the rest of your incompetent  officers/criminals. 
 Ashley Clark Commented:
I hope you get the Justice Michelle and her daughter  deserve. 

Tammy Chapman Commented:
My  most sincere condolences, I am sorry for your loss. I am writing  because your story has many similarities to a 2008 tragedy in St.  John's  County, when my son William was fatally shot. The conclusions of your private  investigator are intriguing in that they are so similar to the conclusions of  our (2) separate and individual private investigator(s) with regard to William's  shooting death. You have been fortunate in that the FDLE  has supported your inquiry. We were not so  lucky in that respect. However, we hold out hope that one day justice will be served. I would be happy to put your PI in touch with our  PI's if you thought there would be fruit to bear. Again, so sorry for your loss. With kindness The only way out is through.
Tammy  jac2312007@yahoo dot com

Carol Hock Commented:
 I pray for justice for Michelle.....♥ ♥
Weshall Overcome Commented:
the family should follow the deputy wherever he goes  to remind him he did  not get away with murder he has a family waiting for justice that will  never go away. God help us all God please help those in  power to correct  this terrible injustice. Pray for Sheriff Shoar, Brad King, R J  Larizza they must be blind or answer to a lower


Brian  Fisher Commented: 
The deputy accused looks like a typical "I'm Above The Law" jerk.

Web Administrator Commented: Brian Fisher, I had to edit off the last part sorry.

Persephone 4Justice Commented:
Does  anybody know the name of the New York Times reporter who's been  sniffing around this
story? I think we might find some help there with  enough pressure........
Post his/her name if you know it, or contact to  get it. Thank you. Keep fighting for the end of domestic violence.....

Insider  Commented:
The NY Times reporter was contacted by the family, that is  how the reporter became involved and that is why Shoar panicked and  investigated to throw FDLE under the bus before the family can get the  story out. Shoar wants to discredit FDLE but his alligations are untrue  and hold no merit.

Patricia O'Connell  Commented: 
Michelle your family and friends will never let Sheriff  Shoar close your Murder Case....We will
haunt him and knock on Justice  Doors until a God Fearing Person Opens the door. We Will Get Justice;  Sheriff Shoar cannot play God anymore......

Margaret Gradick Commented: 
Finally!!!!! Thank God.

Peg Wallace-Carlson Commented:
I ask God every day that we may celebrate JUSTICE FOR MICHELLE

Loveing Wife Commented:
My  husband was railroaded by this department when back in 1998 they knew  of a murder for hire plot that was
told to them twice by a man they were  trying to use to gain access to a drug family here. This department did  nothing to warn this man, he died at the hands of their so called  informant........and then they  tried to
push all of it off on my  husband. To try and save themselves. I pray  that one day there is  justice for Michelle and her family. This so called officer needs to be  off the streets before he hurts another woman and child. I have no use  what so ever for our local Sheriff's office.

Cynthia Sumner Commented:
I  feel SJCSO covers up alot of murders and yes Michelle needs to get  justice for what was done to her because now her daughter has to grow up  with out her mother  teaching her the things a mother should teach  there child. And i can speak this  very well because my sister they  ruled her as a suicide case as well back in 
2003 and her name was  Jessica Lynn Cheshire she left behind two children a boy  and a girl.  Please get justice for this family they need and deserve it they  have  waited long enough. R.I.P Michelle.

Deon G Commented:
Persephone,  Pressure the reporter? I don't think that's necessary. Just  keep telling the truth out loud,
persist, push, and keep faith.
Been There Far To Long Commented:
After  working at this place for all the years I did, I am truly not surprised  by the actions that SJSO has made in this case. There was a lot of  underhanded things going on there. Glad I left when I did. I knew Michelle in high school, and was really good friends with her brothers.  God speed on getting this case solved and the guilty party his just dues.

Anonymous Commented:
As  an attorney, here are a few suggestions for amping on the pressure on  this terrible State's attorney:
First, contact the state attorney  general - go above his head. Then, contact the department of legislative  affairs, here  http://myfloridalegal.com/pages.nsf/Main/CCE3D947208D664A85256CE000592D7A,  and
start an initiative to get a law on the books preventing situations  like this,  where the state attorney can ignore the recommendation of an independent investigation. Next, contact the Florida state bar  association
and report him   for an ethics violation. Also identify  other state attorneys in other judicial districts that are active  against domestic violence and bring this to their attention. There is an  association, http://www.myfpaa.org/ of Florida prosecutors, and I have  no doubt many of Brad King's colleagues would be outraged by this. So  get his superiors and other attorneys to lean on him. He can ignore you,  but he won't ignore people who can cost him his paycheck.

Richard Sinay Commented:
I  have never seen a bigger miscarriage of justice. It is obvious that he  forced the gun into her mouth with the first bullet misfiring and his  struggle to get  the gun into her mouth hi her in the eye with the  barrel of the gun.
He will go  down after the Frontline presentation. A  new investigation will find him guilty of murder.

Robert Meix Commented:
I  completely support your cause for justice for Michelle, and after  reading all the
information available have grave concerns for your  family and others in
the issue of domestic violence with law enforcement  personnel involved.
However I must comment that I believe the picture  you have of Jeremy Banks
making a offensive gesture detracts from the  website. It is not necessary to
lower the quality of the site with this  photograph. Just a regular photo
of Jeremy Banks would serve the  purpose. I wish you success in your journey for
justice.  Staunton, VA

Bruce Alexander Commented:
I'm  working with LAPD and I can tell this is homicide. It's horrible and  that guy need to
be arrested he shouldn't work in law enforcement agency  he is a  shame. As a captain and veteran of LAPD I will tell sherif to  resign because he is shame too. Thank you.

Wendy Patterson Commented:
This  is so horrible. It's hard to believe that in the US in 2010 such  an obstruction
of justice can occur and that women's lives mean so  little...Thank you so much for pushing this case forward! on behalf of all women.. and all people!

Open Eyes Commented:
First,  blessings and sympathies to the family for having to endure the loss  of their loved one under these
circumstances. Second, it is evident that  something seriously is amiss with this department, both the sheriff and  the officer involved. It is sad that the sheriff would compromise his  character, integrity, and reputation
to protect an individual who has  little self-discipline to control his own person. I noted from the Times  story that the sheriff is an outspoken Christian -- he will then know  well the words of Jesus (Matt. 25:40), "If
you do it unto the least of  these, you do it unto me." All the self justifications and  rationalizing will never erase injustice. The only comfort for the  family is that all involved (mo matter their motive) will one day stand trial for their actions. Funny thing about integrity and honor, no one  can ever take it away -- It can only be given away. The officer  involved, the sheriff,  and others gave theirs away to hide wrong-doing.

Sam Hogg Commented:
The  prosecutor had a duty to present this case to a grand jury, not made a  no file decision himself. Now that so many news stories have revealed  his close ties to area sheriffs and other law enforcement a new special  prosecutor should be appointed to present the evidence to a grand jury,  preferably one freshly chosen. If he will
not do it, then the sitting  grand jury can simply take the matter up on its own. It would seem that  the governor in appointing a new special prosecutor could include in his  order of appointment that all the evidence
"shall be presented, without  comment or recommendation" to a local grand jury. This can be done at  any time. There is no Statute of Limitation on murder. Charges of aiding  and abetting should be considered against
each of those persons who  dodged, bobbed, weaved, backfilled, diverted attention from,  hid or  mischaracterized evidence and who otherwise became accessories after  the fact.

James Roach Commented:
Just  read the NY Times article and watched the Frontline documentary.  The Sheriff's
determination to prevent charges being filed is beyond  appalling - and  the Sheriff's office gives Banks a standing  ovation! He should immediately resign. In addition, Brad King's  explanation for not charging
is so weak, it gives rise to the inference  that something else is wrong as well. Perhaps Shoar got to him, and just  like he apparently had gotten to Larizza. I am sure you have already  considered this, but the family should
file a civil case against Banks  if the county will not present it to a grand jury. Think O.J.  Simpson. Experts are expensive, but you can create a legal fund for  donations. Given the recent publicity, it may work.

Robert Groner Commented:
Why  doesn't the O'Connell family sue Jeremy Banks for the wrongful death  of Michelle? It sounds like the
evidence is strong enough to establish  liability (in a civil case, the burden of proof is lower than in a  criminal case). If Banks is not going to jail anytime soon despite best  efforts, at least he should be ruined financially. For any who  recall the O.J. Simpson case, after he was  acquitted of murder, a jury  awarded a judgment against him for the wrongful  death of Nicole Brown  Simpson and Ronald Goldman.

Tim Davis Commented:
They  are toast ! the DOJ will fix a lot of issues at SJSO..............about  time......... 

Raymon Prusak Commented:
I  read that the Deputy whose gun was used in this obvious homicide  recently married. I hope she doesn't end up as a "suicide" as well. The  lengths that the pathologists went in trying to explain their  theory of  suicide would be comical if they weren't covering up a murder. To think  that a obvious killer is in a uniform and badge patrolling the streets  of this county is frightening.

Henry C Commented:
After watching Frontline/New York Time report on PBS. I fully believe the nation will respond in demanding justice. Justice will prevail when  enough people put there collective hand on the scales of justice to  counter the
corrupt political authority that has so long favored  prosecutors protecting police over citizens and police protecting their  own from laws that they are dutifully sworn to uphold. The pressure is  now this sheriffs
department and prosecutors enabling them. Hopefully  you will get justice and a new sheriff in town.

Becky Lowe Commented:
I  read the New York Times article today hoping that in the end Michelle's  family would be able
to receive a chance to have citizens weigh the  evidence, which was not already irretrievably lost, and decide whether  Mr Banks was guilty of murder. But the people who do not CARE about  finding justice seem to
have won out. The opportunity to find out if a  jury of his peers believes Banks is guilty  or innocent will not be  granted,unless we the people insist upon it and fight for it. Shoar,  King and the others in power in this area of Florida seem to be  used to  acting with impunity. They are probably shocked that the nation is  able  to hear about this case.Many informed citizens know that people go to trial with much less circumstantial evidence against them. For  Christ's sake, and I mean  that respectfully, there are two credible  witnesses who passed lie
detector  tests given by the FBI who contradict  the conclusion that she killed herself. Also why would she be leaving  him voluntarily and still want to kill herself. That makes no sense at  all. Even Mr Banks said she
wanted to leave him.  It seems that he had a  controlling, violent personality and was not going to let  her leave  him. We've all heard of the type . But let's allow a jury to decide. It's bad enough they botched the evidence that could have proven guilt or innocence, now let's not ignore the evidence that is still available.

James T Commented:
At  a minimum this case deserves a grand jury. The current medical examiner seems quite incompetent. The sheriff needs to be voted out of office.  Jeremy Banks should not be allowed to be employed in law
enforcement--if  nothing else we can prove he was drinking in possession of a firearm.

Kate Corbin:
Really,  the situation for Michelle and ANY situation of potential wrongdoing  can be boiled down to this simple
truth...When people or institutions  become defensive when asked questions, and refuse to DIRECTLY address  questions to the questioner's satisfaction, they are hiding something.  Otherwise, they would be helpful and willing to openly address all  questions and concerns to get to the truth. Manipulative techniques to  avoid addressing questions directly include changing the subject,  getting angry, putting up other obstacles (particularly administration  "requirements" before information can be turned over), or acting like a  victim, etc. Resist backing down from these techniques and find a  way for the truth to be found.\

Demlari Fransson Commented:
Yeah,  look, any moron can see that the evidence does not match the official version of events. This coward is a textbook version of a power-hungry good ol'   boy who loves to abuse people, especially those  weaker than him.... and this is why he became a cop - because in some  places, like St Augustine, you don't need to have integrity or be a decent and honest human being to be a cop. You just have to be in with the right crowd and then you get to abuse and bully (and murder) anyone you want and get away with it. Justice is coming for you, Jeremy.  Can you feel it? Justice is coming for every one of you that helped bury this  case. Can you feel it? Yes, I'm sure you can :)

AnoNameMouse FerJustice Commented:
This  is insanity! SOMEWHERE up the flagpole of "justice", surely there's an  individual/organization w/ the ability
to override this caricature,  Shoar. So many illogical conclusions, so many questions simply  ignored, & those "interviews" w/ Banks & Hines?!? Cringeworthy  factor ten! If you or I were on the scene of such a tragedy (a  clearly suspicious one at that), would that WE  be treated so  nonchalantly & jokey--while still she lays in a body bag!  Ohhh, I  too have personal experience w/ the brazen heinous conduct of a  FL sherriff's office, & it's sickening & frightening. I pray  sooner than later the family drums up necessary support for a thorough, proper, impartial investigation & justice can finally be served!

11/25/13 Adam White Commented:
very  disturbing; interesting that Brad Kings is purported to reside or work nearby -- is he totally objective here? Prosecutors like to win and hate to lose  and they are risk averse; losing even the just case does not further their careers; taking on the entire police department of a county and losing would potentially end Brad King's career; for him to fall back on the so-called medical "experts" who opined that the  death was a suicide regardless of the fact that their conclusions were unsupported and riddled with mistakes was simply the easiest thing for Brad King to do and keep his job and chance of career advancement  within the State bureaucracy.

11/26/13 ThePublic IsWatching Commented:
This  story makes me so sad and angry at the same time. What an outstanding  job FRONTLINE and THE NEW YORK TIMES have done in their investigative  reporting. Congrats on getting the word out. The broader
public needs to  know what happened  in this case. They WANT to know. They WANT ANSWERS!  JUSTICE FOR MICHELLE!!! Link  to article --
Link to  FRONTLINE documentary -->  http://video.pbs.org/video/2365128108/

11/26/2013 Carrol Wolverton  Commented:
After  spending eight years as single parent counselor for what was then St.  Augustine Technical Center, my sentiments go with the O'Connell family.  My heart goes out to all involved.

11/26/2013 Joseph Pendleton Commented:
Why  in the world isn't the Department of Justice involved? Jo Nesbo, there  is a / through
the o stated in his book THE REDEMEER that in most  countries, including the US,
the police have the largest percentage of  murderers of any other group of
workers. I have written and asked for  his sources. I recently wrote and
have not heard back but hope to. With  that information, if it turns out to
be the  case, I would imagine that  patterns would be Federal crimes and
therefore the DOJ could get  involved.

11/26/2013 Alexander Zinke Commented:
First,  please know, family, that Lexi is in my heart. Perhaps if there is a special after-school activity or camp or such, I could contribute some financially. Love to Lexi. Second, please let us know what we can  do--emails, letters, etc.--to get action on this injustice. I am so sorry. I am domestic abuse survivor--lucky for me, he didn't have a gun. Love, Zondie

11/26/2013 Warren Celli Commented:
The  real problem here is that government and law enforcement — of all  stripes — has been taken over by, and now works exclusively for the  corporations and the business community, not the common folks. Shoar’s  blustering stance in this botched investigation is a testimony to how  brazenly arrogant they have all become and how untouchable they now  believe they are. Take note of those who defend him, they will be the  same merchant class that hijacked the Saint Augustine city government  through a pattern and practice of creating patently unconstitutional  laws that Shoar and his goon squad SAPD cops then selectively enforced.  It was as Chief of the SAPD that he was schooled in smoke and  mirror erroneous report writing. He was a poor student then as he is  now, still doing grade school quality work. You can gain some insight  into his character in this old issue of the BANNED and CONFISCATED pro  FREE SPEECH and pro CIVIL RIGHTS newspaper, the “Saint Aug Dog”... 

  And you can read the new Fountain of Baloney™ web site here... 
  http://fountainofbaloney.com/index.html The New York Times and  Frontline, when push comes to shove, will constrain themselves to  the law enforcement issue only  as they too owe their souls and  existence to
the same corrupt governmental dynamic. They can only go so  far. Do not expect miracles. If you really want justice here you are  going to have to organize and get out on the streets and boycott the  business community and shun the crooked cops until your demands are met.  My deepest sympathy to  all of the family and friends.

11/26/2013 Anna Morrocco  Commented:
I  think this is a travesty. I have many questions about this case. I have  worked as a therapist for domestic violence and I can honestly say this  was a recipe for murder. Let me explain: 1) Family states that there is  knowledge of domestic  violence between Jeremy and Michelle. 2)  Michelle has advised her family that  she is leaving her abuser. 3) As  the pictures show from the concert Jeremy looks angry, something is  bothering him and he is also drinking. Michelle is having a  good time  and she is not letting his mood upset her, which causes more anger for   someone who is controlling. 4)Michelle sends what SJCSO states "cryptic"  texts.  No not really. If he is acting the way I suspect he was acting,  giving her  intimidating looks and acting mad, she could have had  an inner sense of  "something bad is going to happen to her when she  tries to leave him". 5) A  controlling man is not going to give up on  what he thinks is his property and an  argument ensues. 6)Domestic  VIolence becomes lethal when the  victim tries to  leave and that is  where the abuser feels they have lost  control and becomes  excessively  violent and would rather see the person dead than alive. It is my   theory that Jeremy, being intoxicated, his anger heightened is upset  that  Michelle is going to leave him. She enters the house and they  argue. She goes to the bedroom to get away from him and locks the door.  She refuses to open the  door. He kicks it in and she grabs for his  gun. He sees this and it makes him  even angrier. She is on the floor on  her knees (as picture insinuates she was  low to the floor and the way  her legs are angled and that she did not hit the  side of the bed when  she fell backwards). He threatens her with the gun and could have pulled  her hair and placed the front of the gun against her head,  thus  causing the round light at the bottom to press into the crease of her  eye.  He could have been threatening her that he could kill her and get  away with it.  The abuser wants her to be scared. He has to have power  of her since  he feels he  has lost it. Someone in fear is not going to  hit someone with a gun when the  other person has the advantage. He continues to point it at her face she screams  for help and she whacks it out of her face and screams for help, the gun goes  off. That is the shot that goes to the floor. He then regains control again  probably with pulling her hair shoves the gun in her face and shoots her in the  mouth. There is cut on her upper lip. Her hands could have been holding  his  hands in trying to push away where there would not be defensive  wounds. Also,  maybe that is why she has gun residue on her hands. A  SJCSO statement about "No  one would let someone put a pistol in their  mouths", NOT TRUE. Some victims  become passive hoping that the violence  will end and that if I just do as they  say I won't get hurt. Not  everyone acts and think like a police officer. Trauma  is a tricky  thing, some people cope differently. The angle of the fatal shot  would  be just right for someone on their knees and the abuser above her with  the  gun in her mouth. He then wipes the gun clean, takes one of her  hands and make  sure her fingerprints are on the gun and then make it  look like it dropped.  Think about it, she is standing up on her  knees to commit suicide? She grabs it  with her left hand and then  shoots with her non-dominant hand? Plus, what about  him stating that he  was holding her RIGHT hand and that is why he got gun  residue on his  hand. Remember, medical experts stated that she shot her self  with the  LEFT hand. Why would I take  my non-dominant hand and use my dominant   hand to stabilize it? That is very questionable. He, though, is LEFT  handed. RED  FLAG! The SJCSO did not do what they should have done.  Their protocol should have been such where it protected the rights of  the victim and the off duty  police officer. He should have been taken  directly to the station to be  questioned and another outside team  should have come in and assisted in the  investigation. Not  everything is what they seem. There were many mistakes and  conflict of  interest mainly
on the sheriff's part. No one wants to believe that  one  of their own could do such a thing, but it is possible. Yes, statistics  show  that suicides outweigh the murders, but in this case all the  officers just  assumed it was a self inflicted wound. The SJCSO really  missed the mark: 1)  SJCSO should have asked her family has she ever 
attempted suicide in the past 2)  Only 30% leave notes behind 3) Women do not always shoot themselves in the face  or head, not for vanity reasons, but for their family, they do not want to hurt  them more  (Ohio  State). 4) Was Michelle impulsive 5) FIrearms and pills are top suicide methods for women. Isn't it interesting that she should have  both on  her, such as 50 pills in her  pocket, but the pill bottle has  no
finger prints on  them. Plus, no trace of pill showing in her system  only alcohol. Interesting. I  am sure Jeremy learned of this in his training as all emergency officials are  taught about suicide statistics. 6)He is drunk and is acting uncontrollable. RED FLAG, 7)Arguments during the day. RED FLAG 8)Past Domestic Violence, RED 
FLAG 9)  Sheriff friends with his parents and knows then for a VERY, VERY, VERY, VERY  long time. RED
FLAG Also, Sheriff Shoars report really is a report that tries to  debunk every critic of this investigation and he tries to discredit all that  contradict his departments findings. Even though his department did a half-assed  
investigation and did not interview witnesses, family, or the suspect. The  evidence wasn't even tested. How can you defend a case with "shorty" case  work???? I am sorry Sheriff Shoar sound can travel. I am  very sure that the two  witnesses did infact hear the cries for help. I  am really ashamed of the SJCSO  and the "Good Ole Boy"
politics that go  on. Even our news paper is scared of getting involved. I really wish  someone of high stature such as Mark Fuhrman,Dr.  Cyril Wecht Dr.  Michael Baden, or even Dateline, 48 hours, or the ID channel  picks this  story up and does their own investigation. Kudos for the NY Times and   PBS for standing up for
what is right. Michelle's needs JUSTICE! Just  remember Drew Peterson was a police officer and when his wife died of  suspicious circumstances his police department covered up for him. IF  Dr. Michael Baden investigated
the death of Drew Peterson's third wife  and got a conviction, hopefully someone will contact him to do the same  for Michelle and get concrete evidence to put Jeremy where he belongs -  behind bars! God Bless

11/26/2013 Kim Lingle Commented:
I  was assaulted by a wealthy, influential man in St. Augustine this past  April. I refuse to call it
'domestic violence' because I think that  minimizes the act. I'm not a VICTIM of domestic violence; I was attacked  and assaulted. It was a miracle that the SAO filed charges. It was a  miracle that he plead to
one felony. It was strongly due to the fact  that an attorney from OUTSIDE of our District was over-seeing my case. I  had to sell my home and flee Florida this  past September to escape  retaliation from the SJSO. SA
Deputy Chris France told me (directly)  that he grew up with my abuser, and that he was a 'good guy', that  I  shouldn't pursue any violations of the multiple restraining Orders  (more specifically, that he wouldn't) and
that SEVENTH CIRCUIT SO'S  PROTECT IT'S  JUDGES. I have VIDEOs of my attacker violating the  Restraining Orders and Injunctions while POLICE STAND BY AND WATCH.  Deputies don't make the call to NOT  enforce
Orders, State Attorneys do.  I will support you and your family in any way possible. I pray that God  grants you Peace.

11/26/2013 Unbiased P Commented:
Watching  the Frontline TV show. God Bless Michelle. I am not  familiar with  the facts. A civil case threshold is 51% probable, and your county  should vote for Sheriff on this basis. There is no statutes of limitations here, and the complete truth will prevail eventually

11/26/2013 Margi Young Commented:
From  Michigan ... saw the program on front line. Appalled at the corruption of st Augustine sheriff
shoar allowing this murder to be covered up.  Look at the evidence and stand up for the truth. I pray you are not  reelected. God will judge.

11/26/2013 David Elias Commented:
I  saw the frontline report on this investigation. Perhaps it's not enough base a judgment on this case. But seeing the doubt raised by numerous  experts says to me that this case was botched. Perhaps Jeremy Banks got  away with murder, this time. But if this man is indeed an abuser people  claim he is, if and when he does this again, he will be caught. And you  can bet the enabling behavior of his department will only prove me 
11/26/2013 Lt. Hulk Commented:
When  initially interviewed in the police car Jeremy was asked by the  detective," did you  drink tonight". He answered yes, Bud Light, "BIG  ONES" and they laughed.  That is rather odd behavior by the suspect and  the
detective. That department is  systematically narcissistic. The leadership needs to be replaced. Jeremy should  be terminated for looking at the report. Texas can lend you some homicide  investigators and get to the truth.

11/26/2013 Ron Murphy Commented:
Wow.  I'm horrified. I'm not from that area but I just gotta ask? How in the world did 1. The sheriff get his position and 2. The D.A. get his  position?!?  I'm sorry but they both sound like the two biggest  uneducated
redneck idiots I've ever heard! I feel so bad for the family.  I hope the people of St. Augustine will take matters into there own  hands and not allow this police behavior continue. Just remember... 'ask  not for a lighter burdern, but  broader shoulders' take care of this  people of St. Augustine!

11/26/2013  Lori Torres Commented:
Praying for justice for her & her family.

11/27/2013 AnAngry N.FL.Resident Commented:
This  is a horrible miscarriage of justice. That Officer Banks is back "on  the job" should send fear to the hearts of all St Augustine residents  &  especially any young women he attempts to date! The  Sheriff's Dept has
closed its' ranks and is protecting its' own as  revealed in that secret video made during their "retreat". Shame on you  Sheriff Shoar & all your conspirators that you would harbor this  dangerous man - who's
supposed to serve & protect. God will punish you all...Justice for Michelle & her family.
11/27/2013 Jessica J Commented:
I am so sorry for your lose and for the continued difficulties you face. I  am a survivor of abuse and I am lucky to be alive. My abuser was not a  police officer. He raped me and two other underage girls and when I  went to
the police they took a note and nothing else happened. This  cycle cannot continue, domestic  violence is wrong and this was murder. I  will tell her story to everyone I know.  I will ask them to sign your  petition.
I wish there was more I could do. Don't  give up.

11/27/2013  D. R Commented:
I  watched the Frontline program tonight. Have no fear O'Connell family  justice is on the way. There are many
troubling things with this case.  But one really sticks out and will be investigated. Because it goes  beyond officers and the department protecting each other. When does a  special prosecutor basically contradict firearms
EXPERTS based on his  experience with firearms? He has some explaining to do. Justice will be  done and when that happens I hope some peace will come to your family.

11/27/2013 Don Fymbo Commented:
I do forensic reconstructions. Could you email me a copy of the medical examiners
official autopsy report Donaldfymbo@comcast.net

11/27/2013 Derek Sneden Commented:
I  just watched the Frontline special that covered this case and it  sickened me, yet again, to observe the complete disrespect for human  life and justice that occurs when a law enforcement officer evades a 
competent investigation whiles hiding behind a blue wall that would have crashed down on the victim had the roles been reversed. When the people we hire to uphold the laws are not subject to any consequence of law  or order, "We the People", as a society, have failed our dying Constitution. Prayers to Michelle & Alexis and may the rest of the   family... Keep up the righteous fight

11/27/2013 Bob Johnson Commented:
This case is disturbing. Cops should never be allowed to investigate there

11/27/2013 PBSviewer InKansas:
I  just watched the Frontline report and am so appalled by how the case  was so badly mis-handled! My sister
is a detective so I know a little about how Michelle's murder would have been handled. I believe she  was in fact murdered. You and your cause have my prayers and it is my  hope that the Frontline investigation will cast the right light on all  of this and get the outcome that you deserve. I also far for any other  young woman/ women that may become involved with Jeremy Banks. He had  for now gotten away with murder once and he will not
stop. Some other  woman is going to end up hurt or worse.

David Nicholson Commented:

11/27/2013 Jeffrey Norris Commented:
I  just saw the Frontline story on this horrible case of injustice. I feel  so badly for Michelle and her family. What a slimy cop, sheriff and  others you have there. The Buddha said: "Three things cannot be  long hidden: the
sun, the moon,  and the truth." Enough time and  pressure will allow justice to prevail! There  just now needs to be many  more charged, criminally! RIP Michelle.

11/27/2013 Debbie Broeker Commented:
Have you thought about filing a civil suit against Jeremy Banks? The burden  of proof is less than for a criminal charge. It wouldn't put him in  jail, but at least your family would get some sense of justice in this case. My
sympathies to you all.

11/27/2013 Jennifer Chen Commented:
So there was no actual investigating by any officer? Just go by the word  of Jeremy Banks, he is one of us. Stunning. His story does not add up.  To family, I stand with you in calling for justice. FYI, I am in NY, 
where this story ran in the Times. A big spotlight is on this story;  the pressure is on.

11/27/2013 Joseph Daglish Commented:
Why hasn't anyone mentioned the fact Banks had a prescription for the drug  hydrocodone, a
much abused opiate based highly addictive drug which  combined with alcohol can produce angry outbursts. According to Deputy  Debra Maynard when she questions him, he pounds dents into the police  cruiser. Is this a
guy in deep shock and grief or a drunken drug induced panic. I am so sorry for your loss. We can never forget what happened.  We all must insist on justice for Michelle. Joe

11/27/2013 Lynn Jackson Commented:
It is abundantly clear that Michelle's death was not a suicide. Why those who are in charge of enforcing the law can't or won't see it is a huge  mystery. They  are either incompetent or negligent in carrying out  their duties,
and either  should be a scary prospect for the citizens of  the county. The obvious answer to  getting to the bottom of this is to convene a grand jury, and let the truth finally come out.
11/27/2013 Hardman 57 Commented:
to  protect and serve? yeah sure, to protect their own ass and to serve  their police buddies. it
is not very comforting to know we have such  people as this policing us. would you want the foxes investigating who  has killed the chickens in the farm yard?

11/27/2013 The Devil Wears SJSO Green Commented:
My heartfelt thoughts and prayers go out to the O'Connell family. I am so sorry you have lost Michelle. I watched the Frontline episode last  night. I was appalled and disgusted about the investigation, and the way  it
was handled...it's sad how JB gets to live freely and to think SJCSO rewards the murderer by supporting him...Really??? Justice4Michelle<3

11/27/2013 Sophie ABE Commented:
This  is why I avoid FL. There is something wrong in the water. I just  watched FRONTLINE on
PBS. This is SAD. We need JUSTICE for Michelle  now!!!!

11/28/2013 Lance
Robinson Commented:
After  watching the Frontline episode about the murder of Michelle, I can  only hope your desire for justice is satisfied before Jeremy Banks  murders again. That he has temper issues, a badge, and has gotten away  with murder -- at least once already -- does not bode well for his present or future girlfriends, nor the citizens he arrests, pulls over or otherwise interacts with. That the neighborhood wasn't canvased nor  the testimony of the neighbors, who heard cries  for "help" twice, acted upon, nor FDLE brought in from the start (plus all of  the other errors  in this case, like interviewing Banks in a squad car) makes me feel like a federal, not state agency, should be brought in to re-open the  case.  My thoughts and prayers are with you.

11/28/2013 DM Bennett Commented:
first  if it was me i would file a civil suit against the deputy the sheriff  and the entire department this would
allow depositions of the deputy the  sheriff medical examiners police officers detectives and so on  second i would contact the department of justice and request an  investigation into the violation of the victim's civil rights by the  deputy and also the sheriff the department the medical examiner etc the  deputy is suing fdle for violating his civil rights yet the real victim  is ms o'connell she is dead and her civil rights have truly been   violated i would want to get the federal government involved

11/28/2013 Jim Shroyer Commented:
Without a doubt, this case should go to a grand jury. If it does not, the guardian of Alexis should commence a wrongful death action against Jeremy Banks. A money judgment against him is a poor substitute  for a conviction for murder,  but it is better than nothing, which is  what we have now, given the disgraceful  conduct of the Sheriff of St.  John's County and the equally disgraceful conduct  of the State's  Attorney who refused to refer the matter to a grand jury.

Concerned Commenter:
I  just watched the Nightline report on this case and I want to extended my condolences to all of you. It is a shame that this is happening and  nothing is being done. The sheriff should be ashamed as should several  others - I think that it is wrong that they call themselves police officers. If it was known that Officer Banks had a bad temper, he should never have been made a police officer.  All officers, no matter where they are at, should be screened carefully before hiring. And if the pressure of the job takes its toll, then he or she should be  
pulled until they are fit for duty again. This is gross misconduct and I hope  that justice is soon gained for Michelle no matter what that  justice turns out  to be. Keeping you all in my thoughts

11/29/2013 Jeffrey Froment Commented:
I  just watched the frontline special on this case and I firmly believe  that jeremy had something to do with michelles death its to bad that the st.augustine's sheriffs department did not do their job as law  enforcement and automatically said jeremy had nothing to do with the case shame on them for me the evidence proves that jeremy committed murder and now michelles brother scott is on his side seems like a lot  of brain washing going on in florida please reopen this case for the  kids sake

11/29/2013 St. Augustine Citizen Commented:
This  is redneck justice. No thinking person could possibly accept this  outcome without losing sleep at night. I am not completely surprised by  the conduct of small town law enforcement, though I would have expected  better leadership and competence from SJCSO. What I am truly baffled by  is the burden of proof for a Grand
Jury investigation as outlined by  Brad King. In the Frontline documentary he says on film that in order to  send the case to court, he must be able to determine beyond a  reasonable doubt that Jeremy Banks is guilty of
homicide—not probable  cause, "beyond a reasonable doubt". Here is the transcript: BRAD KING,   State Attorney, Florida: "My goal and my role was to determine if I  could prove beyond a reasonable doubt that he
[Banks] committed a  homicide." Is this a formal standard, or just what King thought should  be the burden of proof? This cannot be right. It will be a good day when  this case goes to court, and Shoar resigns.

11/29/2013 Linda Thompson Commented:
Justice for Michelle and her family!

11/29/2013 Michael Jones Commented:
Shoar  In my opinion should not just be voted out, he should do hard time  for impeding a murder
investigation and obstruction of justice. I would  like to see a grand jury change his status from sheriff to codefendant.  If found guilty Banks should not do time, he should be drug behind a  horse until he begs to be put out of his misery. If Shoar is indited  Make Shoar watch then do the same to that slimeball. I will donate a  horse if they need one. Put a sign on the horse  JUSTICE FOR MICHELLE.  anyone at Shoar's resort speech that applauded when he had  Banks and Michells brother stand up should be looking for work. By applauding   they supported the cover

11/29/2013 Iris Weber Commented:
Very clear case of cover up and corruption. Hope justice will prevail.

11/30/2013 Candy S Commented:
Have  read about this case when it happened. Caught the PBS story. First  why didn't they take boyfriend straight to station to interview him after they realized he had been drinking{besides the fact it was his 
weapon used}. Must have been the FACT that they had a comedian female officer who questioned him in  car " Love the FACT that you can hear her laughing "Tall beers" must be her fav.  Plus they let his stepfather  talk
to him first .Who called him ? Didn't realize  that his cellphone calls were never checked. The stage overkill to me personally was the pills in her pocket...and his prescription bottle was placed on top in her pocketbook .Whose fingerprints were on them ..or any? Was brother questioned  about where they were sitting at concert. Security cameras or should have  announced to public "If you were at this  concert.  Please check your photos to see if pics of "The three there  were photobombed in any pics. These would help  just to show facial  expressions and moods. If the two women were smoking pot  ..who cares!  They both passed lie detector. Did everyone else involved take one. I  personally would rather have 2 smokers to testify rather than a  policeman whose SERVICE WEAPON was clean after his girlfriend just used  it to kill herself? I will Pray
if anyone knows ANYTHING to give it up.  This will save the taxpayers $$ plus it will not tarnish the WHOLE  DEPARTMENT ..Plus the wonderful state of Fl. We don't need another  scandal. Praying for the family.

Donna Martin Commented:
Dear  Family of Michelle, I fear that even a grand jury won't get the justice  you deserve, remember in your state Casey Anthony and George Zimmerman  both walked.The police botched the case, even the
sheriff admitted that. The prosecutor was correct that a conviction would probably be  impossible. If it's not too late, did you consider a civil suit against  the county and Mr. Banks? At the very least Banks is guilty of 
negligence that led to Michelle's wrongful death. Keep up the pressure, but if what you think is true, who knows how far Banks and his  supporters will go to protect themselves? Be careful. The state can  remove the sheriff and Banks if the voters won't or can't. I hope that  happens before Banks hurts someone else.

11/30/2013 Jamie P Commented:
I'm  from Toronto, Canada and just watched the amazing documentary on Frontline. Just wanted you to know that your story is touching people all over the continent - the more people know that know about this, the  closer you'll be to seeing justice.

12/01/2013 Joseph Beasley Commented:
I  know first hand about POLICE and POLITICAL CORRUPTION, CONSPIRACY,  and COVERUPS. My heart goes out to you all!!! It is time for AMERICANS  as a WHOLE to stand up for WHAT IS RIGHT!!! Have You ALL heard
of the  march on Washington?  I PROPOSE A MARCH ON ST. AUGUSTINE FROM ALL OVER  AMERICA AND DEMAND ACTION!!! If  there is anything that I  can do to help  all of you just let me know at  yobeasley@gmail.com (ONCE AGAIN MY  HEART GOES OUT TO THE FAMILY AND FRIENDS) JOSEPH (JODY) of Lexington  SC.

12/01/2013 Clara Waldhari Commented:
Two  suggestions: 1- Organize  and hold a candlelight vigil for Michelle  in December 2013; family should
pick where 2- Those who participate in the Pilot Club's Lights of Love (luminarias) aglow in front of city  hall, buy one for Michelle O'Connell this years and every years she goes  without justice.

Catherine Taylor Commented:
Jeremy is guilty and I pray that they find justice and convict him. Not only  for Michelle but also for her daughter. People like Jeremy make it hard  to trust police. It was MURDER, no loving mother would take her own life  to leave behind her baby.. Justice for Michelle!

12/03/2013 Betsy Bowen Wrenn Commented:
My  husband and I watched Frontline last night with friends, and I will  post a  message on Facebook urging all my friends to see it, read the NY  Times story, and visit this website. Our deepest condolences for your  tragic loss and what  suffered since. The truth will out! In solidarity, Betsy Wrenn

12/03/2013 Ma P Commented:
I  just watched the PBS video about Michelle's story. Oh please justice  for Michelle. What goes around, comes
around for Jeremy and the sheriff.

12/03/2013 Jen Klise Commented:
Hello,  The world is with you! The good ole boys are out of their league. In  the meantime. I think you should have a way for us to submit donations  to a fund for Michelle's daughter. Or frankly for the family. I cannot  imagine the impact this has had on your lives. I also think you should set up a facebook page for the cause. Best, Jen

12/04/2013 Outraged Texan Commented:
I  just watched the online Frontline episode, and am shocked  and appalled  by this case. The tragedy this family has endured has been compounded by  local law enforcement incompetence, denial, and arrogance. Clearly,  Jeremy Banks is a murderer. Yet the "good ole boys club" (apparently up  to and including the governor) down there won't even convene a grand jury?! This is a farce on an epic scale and Brad Kind should be  penalized
for professional misconduct...or better yet, fired! I truly feel for the family and hope against hope that justice prevails for  Michelle. PS - How do you fire everyone involved in this  malpractice?  Protest in the
streets? DO IT!!!!!

12/09/2013 Dan Goldman Commented:
I  learned of what happened to Michelle as a result of the Frontline and  New York Times investigation. As an attorney, I was wondering whether or  not  Michelle's family has brought a civil action against against, among 
others, Jeremy Banks. There was no mention of a civil case in the New York Times article or the Frontline episode.

12/09/2013 Gerard D  Commented:
Why  doesn't the family sue officer Banks and the police dept. Officer Banks  service weapon wasn't locked as it should have been from what I saw.  thanks Gerald

12/09/2013 Donna Skipper Commented:
Vote out Sheriff Shoar and maybe then a new Sheriff will re-open this MURDER case.

12/09/2013 J HeroJ Commented:
Even  the most basic of persons trained even slightly in people-reading know  that this guy killed
her and that the other cops are covering it up.  What I don't really get is the brother, now back with these scum.

12/10/2013 M I Commented:
I saw this case on Frontline. It is incredibly sad. And shocking at how brazen the Sheriff's Department has behaved. Is there a wrongful death  lawsuit planned?  What about a federal probe of the Sheriff's Department? I am confident one day Michelle will get justice.

12/11/2013 Alan Caswell Commented:
This  case is unbelievable. Best of luck and hope to Michelle's family.  Never, never, never give up. Jeremy Banks WILL get what he deserves.

12/13/2013 Barry Cooper Commented:
The.  FBI should investigate this case. Michelle's daughter should not grow  up being told her
mother committed suicide if this was not the case. It  may have been an accident, or manslaughter or murder but what ever took  place that night should be investigated by a competent , independent law  force such
as the  FBI. She was denied her civil rights if she did not  kill herself. she was denied her right to life.

12/24/2013 Ed Slavin Commented:
Justice for Michelle O'Connell in 2014! Ed Slavin easlavin@aol.com www.cleanupcityofstaugustine.blogspot.com

12/26/2013 Calvin Howard Commented:
Based  on the facts presented in the Frontline episode, 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....

01/02/2014 Allison Burnett Commented:
I  watched the Frontline documentary last night on Frontline and my blood  is still boiling. What is it about Florida that makes it so hard for common sense and justice to prevail? Why would a girl about to commit  suicide scream help between shots? And why would it take two shots, for heaven's sake? I pray that you get justice for Michelle! it sickened me  to see the murderer standing up at that cop convention with your son,  both
being cheered like heroes.

01/09/2014 Megs Boyce Commented:
Of  the total domestic violence homicides, about 75% of the victims were  killed as they attempted to leave the relationship or after the  relationship had ended.

01/11/2014 Sheila Foley Commented:
The  first step is to take up a serious grass root campaign to oust Sheriff Shoar. Rot begins at the top. You have a corrupt officer at the  helm which in turn enables corruption below. Jeremy Banks is  literally getting away with murder, but he is not the only officer  committing a crime. There are a lot of accomplices in this murder. The  officers who arrived on the scene, the medical examiners and district  attorney. They are all accomplices to
murder and at a minimum should be  charged with obstruction of justice. Why aren't the O'Connell family  suing Jeremy Banks in civil court like OJ Simpson? If Jeremy Bank  gets one penny from that case he is filing, every
penny needs to go to  them.

01/12/2014 David Sabine Commented:
I just watched the episode of Frontline that covered this horrible incident. I am so sorry for the pain it has caused. I sincerely hope that a jury will someday weigh the evidence of this case. As it was presented, it left me very suspicious of the official conclusions. It is my opinion that, even if Jeremy Banks did not pull the trigger himself, he is still responsible for her death in that he did not secure his weapon properly. I would advise you to seek counsel in bringing a civil suit against him and the Sheriff's office for his negligence. If Deputy Banks failed to follow department policy as I have been led to understand than he should be held accountable. I don't pretend to know the facts of the case but it is my opinion that if any one of the contributing factors, anger, alcohol and a readily available firearm were removed from the situation the outcome would have been much less tragic. It is my sincere hope that your family finds peace.

01/2014 Rank Hank Commented:

01/26/2014 Caroline C Commented:
Jeremy Banks is guilty - it is a massive coverup. Why don't they focus more on the statistics that show a women is at her highest danger level in a domestic violent relationship when actually calling it off and trying to leave her partner, the risk of harm and/or death increases immensely - his frustration and anger instead of being visibly upset shows that too, he's more frustrated and  disappointed in himself - that he "lost it" than actually is upset for her demise. His co-workers all know his violent tendencies and outbursts too - does it have to take him killing
someone else before he gets what he deserves?

02/05/2014 Consciousness Failing Commented:
Aphrodite Jones should look into this one. It's apparent that the judicial system all over the state of Florida is in need of review. I'll cite the George Zimmerman and Casey Anthony cases. Common sense tells me something fishy went on that night in that house. It should be fully investigated for the little girl who list her mother. It's no big leap to think a officer of the law would be capable of something like this. I think a fellow officer indicated that night she smelled alcohol on Jeremy when she arrived on the scene.

02/16/2014 Kathii Mosher Commented:
What a sham! The Sheriff needs to be removed from office and actual charges against him as well for this coverup. Jeremy Banks is a coward and a murderer!  Someone in the right position needs to get this mess clear
ed up. I am so tired of corruption in this world.
02/18/2014 Chris de Ocejo Commented:
Hi, My name is Chris. I'm a recent law-school grad, and I just saw the Frontline doc on Michelle. First, my deepest regrets. This should not have happened. And the events after her murder should DEFINITELY not have happened. I would like to  offer my help, such as it is, to your cause in any way I can. I also would like,  if you don't mind, to ask some questions. The Frontline documentary shows what  appears to be a crime-scene photo which, when I saw it, raised a thousand nit-picky questions. I'm pretty sure they're questions you or experts have already considered or are just the product of a naive layman's mind; but on the off-chance they're not, and because convincing a lay-jury someone murdered her is going to be necessary at some point, I ask that you humor me a bit. If nothing else, I hope the questions provoke more questions. The image in question, shown in the Frontline doc, shows Michelle's body, specifically her right hand, next to the alleged-suicide weapon, which is
resting against a policeman's belt. The image presented, upon casual glance, appears to show that Michelle fired the weapon from her right hand, and fell backwards. There are, however, some things in the photo and mentioned in the Frontline report that appear to contradict such a conclusion. (1) The documentary never presented anybody's argument for the "first shot," evidenced by the bullet-hole shown in the film. Did the crime-scene investigators, or subsequent FDLE investigation, ever account for it? Why an alleged-suicide missed her entire head and fired into the floor, then got it all correct and killed herself? (2) One of the crime-scene photos in the film shows the entrance to the room in which Michelle allegedly killed herself. Now, testimony from Mr. Banks was that he broke down the door after hearing shots fired, and one photo in the Frontline doc appears to
corroborate this account. But- another doesn't seem to do so. A photo shown in the doc, from the kitchen area into the bedroom, shows no sign of forced entry - no damage to the lock or door-frame or paint-of-the-door-frame of the bedroom. Now, Banks may claim to have entered through another entry, but if he broke into the room from the direction of the photo shown in the documentary, the photo appears to show not-so-much as a scratch on the door-frame. (3) A  photo of the body shown  in the documentary seems entirely inconsistent with suicide. To wit: (a) Semiautomatic firearms recoil BACK, UP (relative) to the firearm), and ever-so-slightly to the opposite side from which the spent cartridge is ejected. Newton's Second Law: for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. Does the entry-exit wound in Michelle's skull support this? (b) Michelle is alleged to have either (i) placed the weapon upside-up in her mouth and fired; or (ii) placed the weapon upside-down in her mouth and fired; or (iii) held the barrel of the weapon just outside her mouth and fired. If she held the gun outside her jaw (iii), there would be evidence of GSR, expanding cordite gasses burning the lips, and possibly
even physical damage to and on her teeth. If held outside the jaw, one could expect to see more GSR on the front of the teeth rather than the back and more burns on the lips and outer  gums than inner gums, mouth and
tongue. If the gun was held between the jaws,  the recoil of the shot should have caused some slight damage to her teeth as the metal collided with the enamel, with greater damage to the side experiencing  greater recoil (top jaw if the gun was held right-side-up, opposite if  upside-down). Did any of this show in the ME's report? If the gun was held  upside-down (ii), Michelle would likely have had to use her thumb to fire the  weapon (as demonstrated by the confirming ME in the Frontline doc); is the  position of her hand in the crime-scene photos consistent with this? And if she  had held the gun right-side-up (i), she would almost undoubtedly have
used her  index finger to fire the weapon; again, is this consistent with the crime-scene  photo? I have limited info and no crime-scene investigation experience, so treat  this as a layman's guess, but: Either way, the photo (shown on the Frontline  doc) doesn't seem to corroborate this, as best I can tell. (1) Pretend to hold a  gun in your mouth and pull the trigger. Imagine what happens to your body as the shell is discharged. Well, the head moves back and up, slightly, from the force  of the bullet; the abdomen, pulled slightly along the spine by
the skull moving  backwards, falls dorsally, onto its back; AND THE ANDS/ARMS MOVE BACKWARDS.  Your body opens up ventrally. The crime-scene photo in the Frontline doc shows Michelle's right-hand PALM-DOWN, index finger out. I've been trying to think of  how the physics of a self-inflicted gunshot through the mouth could allow
that,  but most positions I can imagine seem pretty contorted for someone allegedly  locked in a room by herself committing suicide. (2) Same photo shows the alleged-suicide weapon with the barrel+maglite pointing up (toward the ceiling),  handle/magazine resting against the floor, firing-pin cocked, again with  Michelle's right hand palm-down, index-finger extended. Again, I'm trying to  imagine the physics of this gun in the hand of a suicide who is falling toward  their back, as is alleged in Michelle's case. My first concern is how the weapon  came out of Michelle's hand. I have a neuromuscular disease, and I know a bit  about how nerves and muscles react from personal experience. When a nerve stops  telling a muscle to contract, there is a "refractory" period. This is actually  pretty easy to demonstrate: tense a muscle, and then let go without tensing any muscles that pull in the opposite direction. The muscle will remain a bit tensed  for a brief period of time, or even somewhat permanently (for example, unless you lock your knees, your legs bend ever so slightly). If you're firing a  gun,  the fingers of your hand are tensed around the handle and trigger. It is going to take time for those muscle fibers to relax, even if the nerve-signals get cut  off immediately. This isn't rigor mortis, its just the natural tension we all  have in our muscles. So again, imagine you've just fired a pistol into your mouth. Your head is
moving backwards, your body is moving backwards, your hand  holding the gun is being flung OUT and AWAY from the direction of the gunshot. The fingers holding the gun are *NOT* open and loose; there is still residual  tension holding the weapon. Which means that the weapon should still have been  close-to or in Michelle's hand *IF* she had shot herself. *OR* let's suppose  that the crime-scene photo is accurate, and that Michelle's hand fell palm-down.  The palm would have held the handle of the weapon, and absorbed the energy of  the gun hitting the ground and bouncing up. The likely scenario in this case,  from basic physics, is that the hand would have contained the handle, absorbed  the shock of the weapon hitting the ground, and *HELD THE GUN IN HER PALM* or  under her palm or pretty damned-near her palm. I could be wrong - and very  possibly am wrong, since I'm going on my common-sense and common-sense isn't  necessarily correct, especially my common-sense - but it seems to me the gun  should be underneath, or at least closer to, the palm-down hand that fired the  weapon. And finally, the image shows the barrel+maglite of the weapon resting against the policeman's belt, pointing up, with handle/magazine resting on the  ground, butt of the gun facing away from the body. If the gun fell from her hand, what are the odds that it fell out of her palm-down hand, fingers clenched  around the handle, onto the service-belt, with the barrel facing up toward the  ceiling and the butt of the gun facing away from the body? The gun does not  bounce on the ground and fall flat; it allegedly bounces on the ground and ends  up with barrel+maglite pointed skyward. Then consider the fact that the photo shows Michelle's right index finger outstretched. It is not in any way aligned with the firing mechanism of the pistol; in fact, it and her
entire hand is 180  degrees from the angle at which the trigger would have had to have been pulled.  Consider: a person shoots himself in the mouth. Somehow, the arm/hand lands  palm-down. The gun drops from their hand. Try mimicking a pistol in your hand,  your hand thrown out by the force of the shot and somehow palm-down. What is the orientation of your mimic-pistol? Isn't the barrel in a palm-down situation toward the feet of the body, the butt toward the head, simply because that's the  way the hand would have held it as it dropped? The other way makes sense ONLY  with the palm facing up. UNLESS there has been tampering with the crime scene.  Speaking of which, who's giant-friggin' feet are in the crime-scene photo(s)?  And the other set of feet/legs in the other photos? Considering both are in what  appear to be uniformed-officer shoes and *NOT* unnatural-death investigators (homicide detectives, CSI technicians), or at least wearing some sort of gear to  protect  the integrity of the primary crime-scene, please tell me there is at  least a LOG of who these
people were, when they got there, and what the hell  they did beside stand around, contaminating the scene. I doubt St Augustine (my folks live nearby) has many homicides, but even a 1st grader who's seen CSI  knows how to ensure the integrity of a crime-scene. There's no excuse for police doing any different, even if they're responding to "one of their own." Anyway,  if I can help you to seek justice in any way beyond signing the petition, please  let me know: I'm glad to use what expertise I have to help out.

02/1/2014 Chris de Ocejo Commented:
I'm a recent law school grad; if I can be of help with my legal training, please let me know. Also, is it just me or are the crime-scene photos (as shown in the Frontline documentary) inconsistent with Banks's story? There are a bunch of details in the photos - like the position of Michelle's hand and the position of  the pistol - that
don't add up if you buy the suicide story, but with other circumstantial evidence point to, minimally, tampering with the scene.

02/20/2014 Former SJSO Commented:
I wish I could write Dateline and tell them what was said around the office. Of course it would only be considered hearsay so it would do little good. But I  agree that it was covered up because of the
mistakes made during the investigation.