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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

That agent is now under investigation for official misconduct.  

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

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

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

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

Banks has filed a lawsuit against the FDLE and Special Agent Rusty Rodgers.  
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