A judge dismissed a civil lawsuit Friday against Rusty Rodgers, a Florida Department of Law Enforcement agent who worked on the death investigation of Michelle O’Connell several years ago, according to new court documents.
Michelle O’Connell, a young mother, was in the process of breaking up with her boyfriend, St. Johns County Sheriff's Deputy Jeremy Banks when she died from a gunshot from his service weapon in 2010.
Her death was ruled a suicide, but her family believes her death was a homicide.
A judge ruled in favor Friday of Rodgers by dismissing a civil suit against him.
Banks sued Rodgers four years ago claiming he was biased in his investigation and tried to advance the theory that O'Connell was the victim of a homicide committed by Banks.
First Coast News spoke to Michelle O'Connell's mother by phone Friday night.
“I believe Agent Rodgers was used as a scapegoat to show people if you don’t look the other way, you will be punished.” Patty O'Connell said. “You will lose your job. We will put you through the ringer. Thank goodness God stood by Agent Rodgers and the truth came out.”
First Coast News reached out to Jeremy Bank's attorney Friday evening but have not yet received a comment.
Patty O’Connell said she is very glad the law is starting to come on the side of people only want the truth. She said Agent Rodgers did a good job and he was very thorough in his investigation.
“It really makes us feel like the wheels of justice are going to start going our way,” O’Connell said. “We will probably pull together as a family and try to get Michelle's case back and started again and seek justice.”
Stay with First Coast News as we continue to follow this developing story.
You can view the court documents associated with the civil case below:
Judgement in Banks-Rodgers Case on Scribd