Sheriff’s Office IDs man who fled deputies, died; felony warrants for lewd acts

LITTLEFIELD, Arizona – A man who died Friday after a Mohave County Sheriff’s deputy and an Arizona Department of Public Safety officer each used a TASER on him in the course of arresting him when he fled an attempted motorcycle traffic stop in the area of Littlefield, Arizona, has been identified as Michael John O’Connell, 44.

O’Connell was wanted on a California warrant for several counts of lewd or lascivious acts involving a child.

Michael John O'Connell | Photo courtesy of Mohave County Sheriff's Office, for St. George News
Michael John O’Connell | Photo courtesy of Mohave County Sheriff’s Office, for St. George News

Deputies in the Littlefield area spotted O’Connell traveling on a motorcycle without a license plate Friday night, Mohave County Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman Patricia Carter said. Deputies tried to stop O’Connell and he abandoned the bike and ran into the desert.

Sheriff’s deputies and DPS officers found him in some brush and used a TASER on him twice after he allegedly became combative, Carter said in a statement issued Saturday. O’Connell stopped breathing while being led in handcuffs to a patrol car, she said.

During the investigation, it was learned that O’Connell had a felony warrant for his arrest issued on May 27 by the City of San Jose Police Department in California, Carter said in her statement issued Monday. The warrant stems from felony charges alleging four counts of lewd or lascivious acts on a child under 14 years of age and three counts of lewd or lascivious acts on a child 14 or 15 years of age.

O’Connell had residences in Littlefield, Arizona, as well as Phoenix, Arizona.

The cause of death has not yet been determined; an autopsy is scheduled for Tuesday. Family notifications have been made.

The Arizona Department of Public Safety is continuing their investigation.

Persons arrested or charged are presumed innocent until found guilty in a court of law or as otherwise decided by a trier-of-fact.

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Copyright St. George News, LLC, 2014, all rights reserved.


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  • 2 sides of story September 1, 2014 at 2:26 pm

    Wouldn’t you really like to hear his side of the story, not just that of police saying he became combative so they tased him to death? Before you say he deserved it for whatever warrants are out there (remember, innocent til proven guilty), did you donate to the fund raiser to the woman who cooked her baby in the car which concluded with no warrants, no tasing, just a big ole fund raiser?

    • Opanke September 1, 2014 at 10:06 pm

      After being here for nine years, I can’t help but agree with all eleven comments. Especially the first one ‘to sides of the story,’,what a travesty .
      When are the good old boys going to go away?

    • TheTruth September 2, 2014 at 7:48 pm

      Let me tell some truth. He was a material science engineering professor in ASU before he died. This department has been absorbed into SEMTE in ASU a few month ago. But right now his profile has been deleted by ASU officially, that’s why I never liked this university. However, if you use search engine on ASU website, you still can get some info about him. I was an ASU student. Although he wasn’t my advisor, I know him. His students are all my friends. His wife is the best professor that I ever met. And she was not killed by him till now, dont trust some fool rumors.
      Dr. Micheal John O’connell is very kind and humorous. His advisor was a Nobel Prize Winner, he made a huge contribution for this country. Right now, he was killed by this country for a traffic case and humiliated with a rumor of child molester and wife-killer.
      Dont fool our judgement. So far we know, there is no witness to prove that professor O’connell fought against police just for a traffic case. Maybe he fled away, because any arrestment will influence his career in the university even traffic case. We know ASU. But fleeing away is the reason to be killed, we cannot accept anyway.
      So any people with a bit kindness, please stop rumoring and prey for our professor.

      • Question September 10, 2014 at 9:33 am


        I never had the opportunity to meet Mike but my boyfriend grew up a few houses down from him. He always has spoken very highly of him so this was a complete shock. We both feel the story doesn’t add up either. I’ve been trying to piece some stuff together but “wife-killer” is a rumor I haven’t heard yet. May I please ask what you meant by “She was not killed by him till now,”? When did she die?
        Any help would be greatly appreciated. My boyfriend is in utter shock over this and the details of the warrant.

  • ladybugavenger September 1, 2014 at 2:49 pm

    That explains why he ran but does not make the death warranted. For they did not know that info before he was tasered and died…..or did they?

  • bobber September 1, 2014 at 3:36 pm

    Since he was a pervert he probably would have felt right at home in Cedar or Hurricane.

    • Simone September 2, 2014 at 12:09 am

      Or st George or Hildale or Colorado City or , … let’s be honest, any city, town or rural area in Utah that is controlled by the Mormon Cult. 🙂
      Ed. ellipsis.

    • Just and Old Man September 2, 2014 at 11:36 am

      Your Obsession with Cedar City and Hurricane makes me wonder if Farm Brown caught you with his livestock. You really seem obsessed with the subject not to be part of it.

  • My Evil Twin September 1, 2014 at 4:03 pm

    Of course, all the bleeding hearts are going to be crawling out from under their various rocks, to try to defend this a-hole. Sometimes you folks make me want to puke. I guess the older I get, the less sympathy I have for stupid.

  • SheSaid September 1, 2014 at 4:50 pm

    Looks like he was an engineering professor at ASU

  • joanna September 1, 2014 at 5:10 pm

    Gee, I’m just not seeing as many people defending the guy now that we find out he’s suspected of child-touching. Hmmm…

    • Native born New Mexican September 1, 2014 at 11:04 pm

      Joanna I will defend him. He had not been to court and been convicted of anything. I had a very experienced lawyer explain to me- scare me with this statement. They can make a felon out of anyone they want to all they have to do is make up something. I had this very thing happen several years later to a family member. Another family member for his own selfish, self serving reasons made up a story that resulted in seven felony charges against family member A . I said stand up to the prosecutor, and don’t accept a plea bargain. He did and all charges had to be dropped because they were all false. This same family member tried to make things up about me also but no charges were filed because it was so clearly false. This kind of thing happens more often than most people think. Also law makers are turning even the most petty behaviors into felonies. When some one says felon to me, I say “really?” ” What did he get accused of doing?” If it isn’t murder, rape or robbery I say ” no big deal. “

      • Joanna September 2, 2014 at 10:30 am

        That’s a good code to live by. I guess since this was supposed rape (of a child) it would fall into the “big deal” category.

        • Native born New Mexican September 2, 2014 at 10:55 pm

          I said accused not convicted because they are not the same thing. How would you like me to think up the most horrible thing I can think of, accuse you of it and then go around telling people it was true. That is what people are doing here. He did not get convicted and go to prison for this. Some accused him of it. Neither you nor I know what the truth really is so the best thing is to not call people names that very well may not be true.

  • HUMMYNBYRD September 1, 2014 at 5:28 pm

    Like I said before, the guy didn’t run from and fight the police officers because he was some innocent…..even worse that his crimes involved children, not just an idiot…an idiotic child molester!! Not saying I’m glad he’s dead, but now don’t feel tooo badly about it. Been there done that….my molester came to my house weeks later and shot himself while standing at our front door….I was 9 years old and he was a neighbor!! At least these children won’t have to worry about him coming back for them now, nightmare over!

  • Welcome To Dixie September 1, 2014 at 5:31 pm

    Yep, welcome to good ole Utah Dixie where yah are guilty despite no court proving you guilty because every religious righteous fool who hates government thinks you are guilty. Now after you gets out of church, go beat up your women and screw the pooch and wave your guns around and say how ‘merican you are.

  • Festus September 1, 2014 at 5:34 pm

    He was a giant perv huh… O well… One less guy pervin on kids..

  • bobber September 1, 2014 at 6:18 pm

    Anyways these cops really lucked out in this case. Had this man been a bishop or a stake president they might have been in some real trouble.

    • Koolaid September 2, 2014 at 7:15 am

      You mean like that Bishop up north arrested for luring young boys?

  • Zonkerb September 1, 2014 at 6:22 pm

    Oh well he’s dead so what.? Society is better off without him. Lmao a warrant for his arrest in CA and he’s here riding a motorcycle without a license plate and then runs from the police. LOL yeah he sounds innocent to me…

  • Afriend September 1, 2014 at 9:07 pm

    I understand all the anger out there towards Mike, I myself am hurt and confused. Just remember in all your hateful words he has family and friends that are not only trying to deal with his death but also all these horrible findings. I’m not condoning what he did in anyway just saying remember the family at this horrible time when you are all spewing hateful things, also there is always more to the story than the press lets on.

    • bobber September 1, 2014 at 10:54 pm

      Well, on a positive note, at least he hasn’t been accused of stimulating dogs or being inappropriate with horses as of yet (knock on wood).

      • Just and Old Man September 2, 2014 at 11:38 am

        Man you are obsessed with this subject. Your Obsession with Cedar City and Hurricane makes me wonder if Farm Brown caught you with his livestock. You really seem obsessed with the subject not to be part of it.

    • My Evil Twin September 2, 2014 at 10:30 am

      HE was the one who made the decision to run. And HE was the one who made the decision to fight. If he had made better decisions, he would be alive today. He got just what he asked for.
      I feel sorry for the people who loved him, and will miss him. But it was HIS decision, just as the lewd or lascivious acts on a child under 14 years of age and three counts of lewd or lascivious acts on a child 14 or 15 years of age, were HIS decisions.

  • TheDude September 2, 2014 at 7:58 am

    Caught by the Sheriff that acted like a posse and delt him aces and eights. Nothing to see here but Ol’time Western justice at work.

  • Taze this guy September 2, 2014 at 7:59 am

    Surprise! surprise! Ya gonna defend or taser this guy?

    • TheTruth September 2, 2014 at 7:11 pm

      How stupid you are!!!! Use your a..* to identify, are they same person?
      *Ed. ellipses

  • ladybugavenger September 2, 2014 at 9:43 am

    There is no such thing as innocent until proven guilty in this country. Just because the words are said, doesn’t make it true. Its guilty until proven innocent- unless you are morman and out of your “normal” routine and don’t go to the gym that day and leave your baby in the car and it dies.

  • TheTruth September 2, 2014 at 7:05 pm

    He is our professor at ASU. he is very kind and humorous. so far we know, no witness proved he was combative on police. Maybe he fled away, but we understood his behavior, because any arrestment was fatal to his university job. Do you really think a promising professor would fight with police till died just for a traffic case??? And BTW, his advisor was s a Nobel Prize Winner. Dont fool our judgement.

    • Afriend September 3, 2014 at 9:24 pm

      I am glad to see that there are others out there that knew Mike the way we did. All the truth will come out sooner or latter. In the mean time innocent until proven guilty. He did not deserve to be tazed to death for not stopping for a traffic violation. My heart goes out to all who knew and loved him. We certainly will miss him, we have known him for almost thirty years.

  • sd September 4, 2014 at 2:36 am

    It is rumored that he was trying to forcibly prise away his own child from a previous marriage and the ex wife dumped a false charge on the guy. He worked with a brilliant prof who first synthesized Buckminster fullerenes and has a highly cited paper. He was an asst prof at a major university in a highly reputed department. There seems like he wouldn’t have been hired without such basic background check. It looks like there is more to this than meets the eye. After Ferguson’s incident, the police don’t want any more malign and maybe influencing the reporting of this incident. Similarly the administration at ASU doesn’t want to get involved at all. Guilty or not guilty, this guy didn’t deserve to die due to police brutality.

  • tempe September 6, 2014 at 9:33 pm

    Thank you THETRUTH. There are two sides to every story. I know only what I saw and can only comment thus. To those of us who knew him at ASU he was a brilliant scientist, a talented professor, a kind mentor, and a joyful man who will be missed.

  • Sad. November 4, 2014 at 10:05 pm

    These rumors are getting ridiculous. I personally know Mike and his family. His ex wife didn’t dump the charges on him, considering she died a long time ago. These accusations were from his immediate family and it is unfair and sad that he passed away. The comments calling him a pervert and wife killer are incredibly disrespectful. My condolences to his family and wife.

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