New Witness Emerges in Florida Woman's 2010 Death

PHOTO: Relatives and friends gathered in St. Augustine, Fla. on Sept. 2, 2014, advocating for Michelle OConnell, a young Florida mother who died in 2010.
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A new witness has emerged raising questions about whether the shooting death of a young Florida mother was suicide or murder.

Loved ones gathered Tuesday, marking the anniversary of Michelle O’Connell’s death, a death that remains surrounded by questions. Her then-boyfriend Jeremy Banks, a sheriff’s deputy, discovered O’Connell’s body on Sept. 2, 2010. He dialed 911, suggesting to the dispatcher that O’Connell may have shot herself.

The weapon involved in her death was Banks’ department-issued gun.

Experts later proposed that her death could have been consistent with a homicide.

On Tuesday, a witness statement by former bar owner Danny Harmon was introduced. Harmon says Banks came to his bar – the Ring of Fire – the night after O’Connell died, making suggestive remarks about her.

“He told me that all she ever did was put him down and make him feel bad about himself,” Harmon said. “He was going to be moving on with his life, and he wasn’t going to let the [explicative] hold him back anymore.”

In a sworn affidavit, Harmon stated that he believes that Banks had something to do with O’Connell’s death.

No one has ever been arrested in the case. Banks’ attorney Mac McLeod denies that Banks and the bar owner spoke the night after O’Connell’s death.

“My client wasn’t anywhere near that place the night after Michelle took her life,” McLeod said. “Anytime there’s a factual investigation, the facts demonstrate this was a self-inflicted gunshot wound.”

O’Connell’s family is determined to press for an new investigation.

“Michelle counted to our family,” said her sister Jennifer Crites. “She played a role.”

Ciara Morris, a friend of O’Connell’s, said the woman’s death doesn’t make sense.

“The facts don’t add up, and we know Michelle as an individual that would never leave her daughter, ever, without a mother,” Morris said.

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