Connell was flying alone in his private plane when it crashed in a residential neighborhood close to Akron, Ohio during Friday's evening rush hour. He was said to have been an experienced pilot.
The death of the married father of four immediately triggered conspiracy theories amid speculation that he had been about to reveal embarrassing details of the complicity of senior members of the Bush administration in fixing an election and destroying incriminating emails.
In a blog posting entitled "One of my sources died in a plane crash last night...", Larisa Alexandrovna of The Raw Story revealed that Mr Connell had been talking to her about the Ohio case alleging that vote-tampering during the 2004 presidential election resulted in civil rights violations.
"Mike was getting ready to talk. He was frightened... I am not saying that this was a hit nor am I resigned to this being simply an accident either. I am no expert on aviation and cannot provide an opinion on the matter. What I am saying, however, is that given the context, this event needs to be examined carefully."Connell had reportedly requested Attorney General Mukasey grant him protective custody, fearing for his life. He also reported death threats against him to his attorney, Cliff Arnebeck.