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Law & Order

Gov. Scott Orders New Investigation Into Michelle O'Connell Death

PBS Frontline

A new prosecutor will be investigating the 2010 death of St. Augustine resident Michelle O'Connell.

After four years and three separate investigations, Governor Rick Scott has issued an executive order appointing Florida circuit State Attorney Jeffery Ashton to reopen the case.

O'Connell's death in September 2010 was ruled a suicide. However, many of her friends and family believe she was murdered by her boyfriend at the time, St. Johns Sheriff's Deputy Jeremy Banks.

Jacksonville attorney Janet Johnson is representing the O'Connell family along with Tallahassee-based attorney Benjamin Crump. Johnson said she hopes Aston will start the new investigation from scratch.

"Hopefully they might start their investigation from step one, including an autopsy," she said. "An independent autopsy is certainly at the top of the things that need to be done."

Gov. Scott cited the emergence of a new witness as grounds for reopening the case.

State Attorney Ashton is well known for prosecuting the high-profile Casey Anthony case.

You can follow Peter Haden on Twitter @HadenMedia.