Opinion: Detective O'Connell becomes disagreeable in Limberios death probe

Matt Westerhold
Feb 4, 2013

On Friday, Sandusky County detective Sean O'Connell said he would ask Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine's office today to take over and head up the investigation into the death of 19-year-old Jacob Limberios on March 2. 


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But on Monday, O'Connell reneged, and said he would not ask for an independent investigation. 

He also reversed himself when it comes to dealing with the Limberios' attorney, Dan McGookey. O'connell was very cordial with McGookey on Friday and did not raise any concerns when he emphatically said he would hand over the investigation to the AG to take charge.

In his email on Monday, however, O'Connell attacked McGookey, who is scheduled to depose several county officials later this month.

"Let’s not forget that some of those involved with this case had to file a Civil Protection Order against you because of your tactics," O'Connell wrote in Monday's email, referring to the ludicrous decision by William Kaiser, an investigator with the Sandusky County prosecutor Thomas Stierwalt's office, to file for a civil protection order rather than be served with a subpoena. 

"It really is in the best interest Mr. Daniel McGookey that you personally not contact me via emails, phone or direct as you are not a professional of my caliber, which I trust or comfortably work with.  Please forward all enquiries to the Sandusky County Prosecutor’s, as I have requested from you previously."

Maybe the professional standard O'Connell claims to have includes saying one thing on Friday, and doing something exactly opposite on Monday.

Maybe O'Connell's professional standard requires him to be cordial and not raise concerns during a lengthy conversation when there was plenty of opportunity. Maybe his standard of professionalism requires that he attack the other person when he changes his mind and fails to do what he said he would do. 

Or, maybe O'Connell's professional standard is the same one that led Sandusky County sheriff's deputies and the coroner to fail to gather evidence, require an autopsy, or do much of anything to answer the legitimate questions that have been raised by the Limberios family and attorney McGookey. 

Or maybe O'Connell's professional standard is the same professional standard that led Sandusky County sheriff's deputies to shoot and kill a sleeping man in 2010 who did not present any danger to himself or anyone else. Although the deputies were standing just feet away from 27-year-old Bryan Jones who was asleep or passed out on a couch with an unloaded shotgun in his lap,  the deputies used a flash-bang grenade to awaken him. They killed him instantly when he was jolted awake by the explosion, blowing off his arm in the process with the high-powered ammo they used.

Or maybe it's the same professional standard that allows a schizophrenic female inmate at the Sandusky County Jail who was denied her medication to be sexually exploited by jail guards.  

Yes, maybe O'Connell is seeking to achieve that same professional standards Sandusky County Sheriff Kyle Overmyer has set for his team. O'Connell's email reflects that, and so does his refusal to ask for an independent investigation.

Overmyer told a reporter on Monday he ordered O'Connell not to ask the AG to take over the investigation.


my oh my

Anyone know the reason why O'Connell left FPD and went to the sheriff's office??Just wondering...

Matt Westerhold

We will seek to get an answer to that question. Detective O'Connell, sheriff Overmyer, prosecutor Steirwalt, coroner Wukie and other county officials were asked these questions earlier today: 

Question: Also, for each of you, could you advise whether you believe there is a need for a fully authorized independent investigation, and why, or why not, given there have been at least two previous investigation by the county already? On Friday, Detective O'Connell clearly agreed to attorney McGookey's request for one and agreed to ask for that as the independent investigator assigned to make such a decision. I would like to know the thinking that caused his decision to be overruled and exactly how that decision was reviewed by each of you prior to O'Connell's Feb. 3 email to which I am responding. 

Question: Also, Detective O'Connell suggested on Friday that coroner Wukie refused to order an autopsy due to the expense it entails. For each of you, could you explain how this decision factored in the earlier determinations of the previous investigations, given detective O'Connell's previous statements about the witness statements and the conjecture he offered? Are county officials seeking to have a second autopsy? 


I'll post it again, because my other comment was deleted because of "lengthy excerpts from other websites" and I'll keep it brief.

Dan McGookey is Matt Westerhold's attorney in a lawsuit in Lorain. Check it out on the clerk's website if you'd like.

Maybe that explains why this guy is the Register's favorite attorney?

Shouldn't the media be a little more neutral than that?

I'm sure they'll censor this post too; the Register likes to manufacture news, not reports it.

entitled to my ...

This is the first time, and hopefully the last, that I will defend Matt Westerhold and the SR. Who cares that Dan McGookey is Westerhold's attorney? In this instance, I don't believe the Register is "manufacturing" anything. They are asking tough questions that deserve answers.
The family and friends of Limberios need to know the truth about what happened that night.
I, for one, am very happy that the SR is keeping the pressure on Sandusky County.


I don't have any issue with this story. The coverage seems fine. Admittedly this comment was more appropriate toward all of the dozens of foreclosure columns; however those columns don't accept comments.

I don't have any opinions on this attorney or his services; however I do believe that the fact that the guy has a weekly advertisement, which is basically what his column is, in disguise as a news story seems like it lacks objectivity.

I don't see any other local businessmen who have a pipeline to the media outlet like this guy does, nor do I see any other local businessmen who get a weekly advertisement and get to call it a news story.

I think the fact that this businessman has a private business relationship with the managing editor of this newspaper is absolutely relevant; and if Matt Westerhold contends that his private business relationship has no bearing on the fact that this foreclosure column is allowed to be written, perhaps he can tell all local business owners how they too can have a weekly column promoting their business.

None of the columns I've read seem to convey any real news about foreclosures; they merely seem to be promoting this guy's services and all of the great things his firm has done.

Again, I'm not saying he's not a good attorney or what he says isn't true, because I don't know. I'm just saying it doesn't appear that anyone else has this kind of access to the paper, and to me that seems like it lacks of objectivity.

joshua206's picture

It seems like you have some sort of agenda against this reporter. Okay, whatever.

Your are diverting sorely needed attention away from this unsolved murder.

And that is what it is, an unsolved murder that the Sandusky County officals do not seem very intertested in solving.


Brad, Wow! You claim a bias when you can't seem to get past your own.

Matt Westerhold

Thanks for your comment Brad7766. You seem very anxious to share this information. It's true that Dan McGookey's law firm represented me personally regarding a property in Lorain County and that information is readily available on the Lorain County Common Pleas Court website.

That had no bearing on the decision to cover this story, or the lawsuit McGookey filed on behalf of the Limberios family.

McGookey also participated in the Register's series of forums a few years ago called 'Solutions" designed to assist people adapting to changing economic times and circumstances. His "Foreclosures" blog, I believe was generated by that interaction and McGookey offered to write the blog at the same time the Register was searching for community contributed content. So that worked out really well.

Although you did not provide any specific concerns, I am not aware of any favoritism in the Register's coverage of this story. There was no disclosure since there was nothing to disclose, but I'd be happy to talk with you if you feel there is a specific instance, or about other areas of concern you might have regarding the Register's news coverage.  You can call me at 419-609-5866. 

Thanks for the question. 


Why does that even need to matter? Are you lobbying for somebody in Sandusky County or somebody that has a concern regarding what they witnessed that night? The fact is that this family, this and especially this little girl deserve answers and Jacob deserves justice. If not for him then for whoever this could potentially happen to in the future. Miscarriages of justice happen all over our country and they happen wherever those in charge think it can be swept under the rug. It takes somebody having the courage to bring it to forefront, bring it to the mass attention and making somebody take notice for action and justice to happen sometimes.

Kottage Kat

Excellent reporting Matt
Please keep up and keep on until answers are gotten
Be Jake's voice for justice to be obtained for him
He deserves nothing less than that
His death will not be in vain
Thank you for sticking with this story
where are the T shirts
I will buy several
Prayers to all


Why isn't anyone asking why, if it was homicide, did the 3 people present in the home all pass a lie detector test??? Or maybe it's exactly what it seems. But before you start blaming the SCSO blame whoever was responsible for the unlocked gun, had it not been for that reason he never would have gotten his hands on it in the first place. Also the 2010 shooting, if you weren't there on scene to know the immediate threat that may have been posed than don't make assumptions. Had the sheriffs office did nothing, and the gentleman came too and started shooting and god forbid killed someone, then you would be complaining that they should have done something. The mere fact that his own parents were scared enough to leave the house and call 911 should tell you something. Some people have to make the hard decisions when it comes to public safety, others get to sit behind a computer and complain about those decisions without ever having to make one.

Matt Westerhold

Thanks for the comment, jmschmidt812. Information provided to the Register indicates that only two of the three witnesses took polygraph examinations. Reporter Emil Whitis is working on a story for the Sunday Register about the examination results and documents provided by experts hired by the Limberios family that questions the accuracy of the polygraph examinations and the interpretations of the results.