ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. – Michelle O'Connell was found dead of a gunshot wound in 2010 and it was ruled a suicide. That ruling has been the subject of controversy with some feeling her boyfriend at the time, a St. Johns County sheriff's deputy, killed her.
Along the way a Florida Department of Law Enforcement agent was called in to investigate. But now News4Jax has learned that the state attorney has determined that the FDLE agent acted inappropriately as he looked into the case, but did nothing criminal.
A lengthy report on FDLE agent Rusty Rodgers' actions was just released and the report said Rodgers conducted the investigation with preconceived notions that this was a homicide which excerpts from the report show.
A letter from State Attorney William Cervone said, "I would like to note that I do not condone or endorse the actions of Special Agent Rodgers. He has engaged in questionable investigative techniques, including misleading some witnesses, in an attempt to gather evidence consistent with his beliefs."
The letter also said Rodgers developed an, "Inappropriate Relationship with the O'Connell Family," with findings showing, "Inappropriate Witness Contact/Attempts to Sway Witnesses."
O'Connell's death has been the topic of controversy for years in St. Johns County and there was even a national documentary made by the show PBS "Frontline" about whether O'Connell was killed or not.
Since that documentary O'Connell's brother Scott, also a St. Johns County deputy, has filed a lawsuit against Rodgers which is still ongoing.
One thing the state attorney points out in these documents is that while he does not condone agent Rodgers' methods, he cannot call anything the agent did criminal.