O'Connell Family Wants New Inquest

Sep 2, 2014

Four years after the death of Michelle O’Connell, friends and family are asking for a new look at the case.

Family and friends of Michelle O'Connell want an independent coroner's inquest in the case.
Credit Ben Freid / WJCT

They arrived at State Attorney R.J. Larizza’s office in St. Augustine today with two documents in hand: a request for an independent coroner’s inquest and testimony from a new witness.

Attorney Benjamin Crump, who is representing the O’Connell family, says they are asking State Attorney Larizza to follow the recommendations of the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.

“To have an independent coroner’s inquest," he said. "To give them due process. And if he doesn’t do his job, we’re asking for the governor of the State of Florida, Governor Rick Scott, to do this coroner’s inquest.”

Michelle O’Connell died of a gunshot wound to the head on September second, 2010. Her death was ruled a suicide, but many people associated with the case insist she was killed by her boyfriend, St. Johns Sheriff’s Deputy Jeremy Banks.

The family also brought testimony from a new witness.

Danny Harmon is the former owner of the Ring of Fire bar on Anastasia Boulevard.

Harmon said in a statement that on many occasions, he asked Banks to leave due to his excessive drinking and rowdy behavior.

Harmon also said Banks made incriminating statements in the bar the night after O’Connell died.

The St. John’s County Sheriff’s Office released a statement Tuesday, saying the case is classified a suicide based on rulings from three medical examiners.

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