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Irish Voice News
Nurse Convicted of Murder
May 30, 2008
By April Drew
AN Irish American man, who fled to Ireland in 2005 after murdering a University of Florida student was found guilty of murder in the first degree on Friday, May 23.
Oliver O’Quinn, 29, was sentenced to life without parole for the murder of Michelle Herndon, 24, who he had become obsessed with in 2005. Prosecutors at O’Quinn’s trial said he injected Herndon with a lethal dose of Propofol, a fast acting anesthetic, which resulted in her death.
O’Quinn, a nurse whose license expired in 2007, worked at the University of Florida, where Herndon was a student.
The jury heard that O’Quinn first became acquainted with Herndon while sharing a house with her friend. Although a casual friendship existed between the pair, O’Quinn became obsessed with the young student. When he discovered she was to be wed to her boyfriend he apparently became enraged and planned her death.
During the trial, it was heard that police found Herndon lying dead across her bed in her Gainesville home. A small piercing on her arm led detectives to believe she was injected with something.
Toxicology reports discovered a lethal dose of Propofol in the young woman’s system. A syringe, disposed of at the back of Hendron’s house, had O’Quinn’s DNA on the cover and blood from the victim inside.
On November 11, a day after Herndon’s body was discovered, O’Quinn quit his job, according to police. On November 29, he fled to Dublin, informing family members he was taking a vacation to the land of his ancestors.
While staying at a youth hostel in Dublin, O’Quinn made attempts to join the Irish Nurses Organization (INO) seeking employment. However, a Gainesville police detective, Michael Douglas, informed the INO of O’Quinn’s background. An extradition request for O’Quinn was immediately made to Ireland but due to long delays in processing the request, Gardai (Irish police) were unable to arrest O’Quinn, who at this stage had moved into a home in Dublin’s north inner city.
O’Quinn fled Dublin in July 2006 and flew to Morocco. He then traveled to Mauritania in North West Africa. His passport number had been registered with all foreign embassies and consulates and in an attempt to set up a money wire transfer from the United States; his location was discovered by U.S. Embassy officials who caught up with him. He escaped again but was later caught in Senegal. In July 2006 he was extradited to New York and eventually returned to Gainesville in October that same year.
The Judge presiding over the case, Peter Seig spoke to O’Quinn at the sentencing last Friday. “It is beyond my comprehension how an intelligent mind could conceive of what we’ve heard about this week,” he said.
O’Quinn is currently being held in Lake Butler Reception Center in Florida.
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