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.

Comments

EdO's

Thank you for this information. I appreciate the investigative reporting.

eriemom

Holy Moly Matt! Just lay it all out there.

DGMutley

Ditto!

Props to you Matt Westerhold!

Perkins2060

What a bunch of morons over in Sandusky County!

commonsense1969

Get Dewine in here now and fire the whole bunch of incompetent crooks!!!

Wald

The level of unprofessionalism and incompetence in the Sandusky County Sheriff's Office is staggering.

RUKidding

This may be one of the better articles I've ever read on here.

Commenter

Is anyone else looking into this? Besides Sandusky County? Does the State not see the negligence here? What does it take? Who does the county answer to?

bmgasser

This tragedy requires taking sides. Another poor choice from a Sandusky County official. Everyone involved in this needs to take a long look in the mirror and ask themselves what kind of person they are and how seriously they take their responsibilities. Unfortunately the people that are fully capable of ending this travesty don't posses the moral virtue required to do so; leaving the the rest of us expontentially disappointed. I take this personally. It is a firm slap in the face to the family and friends of Jake that have been working tirelessly to see through the justice that is owed to Jake and now the punishment that is owed to these monstrous and vicious culprits of murder and conspiracy. I'm just a 20 year old college student that should be busy studying and having fun. When my best friend died I also had to start doing my best to comfort my friends and family and doing my part in raising Ella. I came to accept Jake's death and took these other things on proudly. That should be the end of the story, but instead I have found that my new duties also included endless long nights at Jacob's house analyzing evidence, organizing and plotting action, convincing a father that he was not crazy or in denial, and promising a single mom that I was all in and not going anywhere. That's how seriously I decided to take my responsibilities and who I wanted to be after my look in the mirror. These SOB's have decided for themselves and I do not feel the least amount of sympathy for what's to come their way. We are all sick and tired of being let down and disrespected, but even more sick and tired of worrying about what story is going to be regretfully explained to Ella one day. It's a disgrace to such a wonderful man, partner, son, and friend. Sandusky County officials have been nothing but pathetic excuses for public servants, and quite frankly I feel the same way about those dirty bureaucrats at the Bowling Green BCI. The constant misconduct of Sandusky County-incident after incident is inexcusable. How can you be so shameless? The evidence in this case speaks for itself. The corruption is so thick in that sheriff's office I don't know how they can breathe in there. Or maybe I'm being too harsh: after all they are just fighting for their own out there just like I
am.

bmgasser

Sorry Greg, couldn't turn the other cheek on this one

Ithink

Wonderfully written Brady. This whole story makes my stomach turn.

jas

Well, I'm glad the Register cleared up exactly what its allegations are. Accusations of incompetence are substantially different than accusations of criminal wrong doing.

Maggdi

Different perhaps, but I would have to think that at some point negligence could also be a descriptor. And remember there are different levels applied to that word too.....

joshua206's picture
joshua206

I would like to thank the author of this article for having the guts to write this article.

This entire travisty of justice needs to be completly exposed. Sandusky officals need to be held accountable for thier actions (or inactions).

Most importantly, there needs to be justice for Jacob Limberois. His killers need to be punished.

I have been sending information about this poor excuse of an investigation to most of the major investivagive journalism tv shows ( Dateline, 48 Hours, 20/20, ect) It is my hope that their producers will see this case for the injustice that it is, and will tell the world about these Sandusky officals.

Per Wikipedia: The Insider Exclusive whom regularly produces original Dateline, 60 Minutes, 20/20 The Insider Exclusive also features important cases that represent injustice, unfairness and/or deception. Either for individuals or groups seeking to vindicate their civil rights.

So please join me in contacting these people and letting them know about the injustice in Sandusky.

my oh my

@joshua206 :

Please don't confuse city of Sandusky officials with Sandusky County officials. You say Sandusky and not Sandusky County. There is a difference..

joshua206's picture
joshua206

http://www.lbishow.com/contact.html

EXECUTIVE PRODUCER & HOST:
STEVE MURPHY
424-226-2853

bmgasser

Thanks for your efforts Joshua206. This county is already afraid of the SR and would certainly tremble at the exposure shows like that could offer

RUKidding

You can send tips to the Brian Ross Investigative Team for 20/20 at this link http://abcnews.go.com/blotter

wiredmama222

It seems from the very beginning of this, that the Sandusky County people have been throwing up road blocks to even the simplist of answers. Why would a chief of police, a coronor and a county prosecutor do that? Because the real answers are there and they don't want them to get out? Why would these three be dodging subpoenas if there is nothing to hide? Why would they take this tack and hide like scared rabbits or angry buffalo if there is no wrong doing on their parts? It all seems too sorted. Many things of late over there in Sandusky County seems that way and no one does anything about it really. Some have tried...they have failed miserably. The AG came down and his picture taken with the "boys" if you will all remember about the drug "busts". Was that not the chief? So why does he fear an investigation from his buddy DeWine?

The old sayings "me thinks thou doest protest to much" is starting to fly through the air loudly over there in Sandusky County. Pretty much everyone hearing it is beginning to wonder what the HEY is happening with the Sandusky County legal system over there. If nothing is going on, then WHY are there so many road blocks to the questions being asked by this family? Talk about a rush to judgement when this all happened. It really stinks. I don't blame them for wanting more answers.

I don't think Mr McGookey needs to wait for anyone or anything to ask the AG to get involved. Go ask the AG himself. If not him, ask Channel 3 news omnibudsmen to get involved, or one of those wonderful investigative teams from the bigger TV stations and let THEM have at these guys. They could be a BIG help in getting the AG involved. Once they are on the case, it shouldn't take the AG long to get up here asking questions. If that doesn't work start a move on one of the State Congresspeople after you contact the omnibudsmen. That might be a way at them too. No one likes them snooping about.

Its time for those in "power" in Sandusky County to start "talking" and "cooperating" with this family by hook or by crook if necessary. If they can't stand the heat, then they should have answered the questions long ago. Tough cookies. They are not above the law!

brad7766

Moderators have removed this comment because it contained Lengthy excerpts from other websites.

joshua206's picture
joshua206

Moderators have removed this comment because it contained Personal attacks (including: name calling, presumption of guilt or guilt by association, insensitivity, or picking fights) and Libel and defamation.

wiredmama222

Do you really think they haven't gotten it back by now? I wonder about that. I just can't believe it isn't back yet.

And thank you.

iamrevolutionary

******LIKE ****** Good job Matt! Wish I could read the whole thing, but alas, I am happy to still have internet! Keep nipping at their heals! :-)

Julie R.

***** LIKE *****

I agree. Good job!

wiredmama222

thank you.

BOB ROSS

GREAT ARTICLE MATT !!!! I CAN NOT believe a county official has filed a protection order against an attorney to avoid a subpeona !!! WOW.. How chicken
sh*t is that ??? I would be willing to bet these officials all got together over the weekend and had a big POW-WOW and agreed NOT to bring in the Attorney
General. Really makes you wonder what they are hiding when they fail to bring
in an unbiased investigation team. Stay on top of this one Matt !!

Julie R.

"I CAN NOT believe a county offical has filed a protection order against an attorney to avoid a subpeona!!!"

I can. They do it in Erie County, too, only it's the opposite. In corrupt Erie County dirt-bag attorneys ~ working in collusion with the Erie County courts ~ pull off the very SAME identical crap. It's done to illegally conceal records.

rickross2

Matt, 99% of the time I consider you to be a tool. This is your 1% and you came out swinging for the fence! Great article. Like the old saying goes "The truth hurts" well you sir threw alot of hurt on them boys.

entitled to my ...

It kills me to say this, but, thanks Matt Westerhold and the SR for printing this story.
My prayers go out to this young man's family and friends. I don't know any of the parties involved, but they DESERVE TO KNOW THE TRUTH.(Whatever that truth may be.) Had Sandusky County done their job correctly, and thoroughly, this never would have gotten this far.
I usually am on the side of law enforcement, but in this case, if all of the facts being printed are accurate, they really screwed this case up from day one.
The Attorney General should be brought in IMMEDIATELY! Does anyone know if the family can request this, or does it have to come from the prosecutors office?

bmgasser

The state cannot get involved unless the county requests their assistance. They have made it clear that they are unwilling to do this. That chain does not work when the local law enforcement also need to be investigated. Also, I personally would not feel hopeful about the AG getting involved considering his BCI has shown evidence of corruption by fixing polygraph exams, keeping the firearm for 90 days, and lying about their gun testing capabilities.

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? 

brad7766

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.

brad7766

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
joshua206

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.

DGMutley

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. 

RUKidding

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
JUSTICE FOR JAKE
where are the T shirts
I will buy several
Prayers to all
Kat

Jmschmidt812

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.