Panel finds O’Connell medical examiners broke state laws

During the Medical Examiners Commission Meeting at the Buena Vista Suites on February 24, 2017, Historic City News learned that two District 23 medical examiners would be recommended for suspension or probation for their actions in handling the autopsy of Michelle O’Connell.

A three-member District 23 Probable Cause Panel compiled its findings in a February 16, 2017 memorandum to Florida Medical Examiners Commission Chairman, Stephen J. Nelson, M.A., M.D., F.C.A.P.

During Issue 6 of the published Agenda, the four-page memorandum was presented by Barbara C. Wolf, MD, who is a medical examiner, on behalf of the panel; which included Wolf as well as Kenneth T. Jones and Wesley H. Heidt, J.D.

On February 27, 2017, local Historic City News reporters requested the Commission and Florida Department of Law Enforcement Office of Public Information to turn over the documents containing the complaint and outcome of the panel’s investigation.

Dr. Frederick Hobin, who was the Associate Medical Examiner at the time and performed the initial autopsy, was found negligent and to have committed several violations of Practice Guidelines, as was current Medical Examiner, Dr. Predrag Bulic.

The complaint says Hobin failed to perform an appropriate review of the medical information and conducted an incomplete investigation.

Hobin is accused of not reporting that the victim had a broken jawbone at the time of her death; a fact that was discovered by the O’Connell family during a subsequent, privately paid forensic autopsy.

Also, Hobin kept important case documentation at his home, including an amended death certificate that was never officially filed with the case, all of which are violations of state law.

“I became convinced it was probably a homicide,” Hobin said in a televised interview with First Coast News. Hobin initially ruled O’Connell’s death a suicide but later changed his mind. He admitted to altering the autopsy report and stated that he changed the original death certificate, which he kept at his home, along with other parts of his investigative findings – all direct violations of state law.

Bulic is the medical examiner who was unable to remove the same model pistol used in the shooting from a retention holster like the one on the gun belt of O’Connell’s boyfriend — St Johns County Sheriff’s Deputy Jeremy Banks. He is also the inventor of the theory that O’Connell held Bank’s pistol, in her left hand even though she was right-handed, upside-down, and that the pistol recoiled forward instead of backwards, causing the cut over her right eye.

The panel also found that Dr Bulic violated state law by sharing autopsy photographs of O’Connell without the family’s consent.

Members of the O’Connell family told Historic City News that they are more convinced than ever that St Johns County Sheriff David B Shoar is providing cover for the man who murdered Michelle. Shoar has also hired Banks’ stepfather, Larry Dixon, who retired from the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office. Michelle O’Connell’s mother, Patty, said that she will continue to pursue justice for her daughter and that she will not give up her fight until the truth comes out.

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