Sheriff takes another hit in press on O’Connell homicide

BRICKBATS + BOUQUETS, Folio Weekly says, “BRICKBATS TO SHERIFF DAVID SHOAR” this week; reporting about the front-page feature article that appeared in The New York Times on Sunday, June 18th.

Pulitzer prize winning author Walt Bogdanich reported that Shoar attempted to stymie the reporting in The Times, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement’s investigation into O’Connell’s death, and to ruin the career of the FDLE agent assigned to the case.

Folio detailed numerous problems with the St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office investigation into Michelle O’Connell’s 2010 death, contained in The Times article.

To this day, many believe that O’Connell’s murder, which was quickly ruled a suicide in spite of evidence to the contrary, was committed by her boyfriend, Jeremy Banks; a deputy who works for Shoar.

Also, this morning, Bogdanich appeared as a guest on WJCT First Coast Connect, discussing his observations, responding to call-in listeners, and questions from host Melissa Ross.

Shoar continues to refuse to face the public on the subject of his mishandling of the homicide investigation and his deputy’s premature conclusion that O’Connell’s death was a suicide.  He sent a statement to Ross, who read a couple of quotes on air.

Statement of response from Sheriff David Shoar:

We will not conduct any conversation with Walt Bogdanich concerning this case. When he arrived at our agency four years ago, his mind was made up concerning this case; he treated some of our staff unprofessionally and we learned from our first contact with him, due to his carelessness, that his primary source of information was FDLE Agent Rusty Rogers.

The civil lawsuits filed by both Deputy Jeremy Banks and Deputy Scott O’Connell, confirmed our beliefs of his (Bogdanich) relationship with Rogers, but it was far more involved than we originally believed. Quite frankly, Bogdanich has never reported on the true narrative/legal findings of this case, he has however worked diligently to perpetuate his own narrative, and act as advocate for those who do not accept the suicide findings.

One key item that I’m sure Bogdanich has neglected to report, is that his friend/source, Rusty Rogers, is sixty days away from standing in Federal District Court in Jacksonville, where he will be compelled to explain to a jury of his peers, why he engaged in the outrageous conduct that he did in this case.

Interestingly, Mr. Bogdanich with his most recent article, and now his subsequent local speaking engagements certainly have the appearance of trying to influence a federal jury to protect Agent Rogers, and his own credibility. One item of interest in a recent St. Augustine Record interview, is Bogdanich states he became “part of the story”. In doing so, he departed from the normal standards of objectivity in reporting.

In closing, though we will not meet with Bogdanich because of his dishonesty, we offer some questions that you might ask him:

  1. What is his response to the recently released 25 pages of perjury committed by his friend Rusty Rogers?
  1. Why hasn’t the St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office been sued in this case?
  1. As dimwitted as Bogdanich is, even he should know that men guilty of a crime wouldn’t file civil law suits, as Deputy Jeremy Banks has, because they lose their 5th Amendment protections.

Finally at the risk of sounding sarcastic, we can truly be thankful that Bogdanich wasn’t assigned to the Washington Post Metro Section in the early 70’s, because Deep Throat would have been revealed in the first week, Nixon would have been elected to a second term and would have went on to be awarded the Noble Peace Prize.