Jan. 9, 2020 By Allie Griffin
A 26-year-old Sunnyside resident who fatally punched a fellow Irish immigrant outside a Queens Boulevard bar in 2018 was sentenced to six months in jail at Queens Criminal Court yesterday, the Queens District Attorney announced.
Steven O’Brien, of 42nd Street, will serve six months after pleading guilty to assault in the third degree in November for killing 21 year-old-old John “Danny” McGee with a single punch to the head outside the Gaslight Bar on Thanksgiving morning in 2018.
The victim’s mother, Colleen McGee, flew into New York to be at the sentencing. While the case prosecutor read her victim impact statement, O’Brien wiped tears away from his eyes, according to Pix11.
“You killed my son,” she wrote in the letter reported by Pix11. “There was so much he could have achieved.”
#NEW Emotional Steven O’Brien of #Dublin gets sentenced in Queens, NY court for 2018 #OnePunch death of fellow Irishman, #DannyMcGee. O’Brien made plea deal with DA: 6 mos. in jail. McGee suffered lethal head wound after punch outside Sunnyside pub. pic.twitter.com/Uy7lP85xZ6
— Mary Murphy (@MurphyPIX) January 8, 2020
Newly-elected Queens District Attorney Melinda Katz described the incident as pointless.
“This was a senseless confrontation outside a bar that ended tragically,” Katz said.
McGee’s death has become one of the cases labeled a “one punch homicide,” where the only intent able to be proven was intent to cause physical injury.
Under current law, the highest charge for such cases is assault in the third degree, Katz said.
The incident took place shortly after 3:25 a.m. on Nov. 22, 2018, when O’Brien and McGee, a popular Gaelic football player from Longford, got into a dispute outside the 43-17 Queens Blvd. bar. O’Brien suddenly sucker-punched McGee on the side of his face, according to the charges.
The force caused the 21-year-old to fall to the ground and strike his head on the pavement. He later died at Elmhurst hospital as a result of blunt force trauma, the charges state.
O’Brien, an undocumented immigrant from Dublin, fled the scene, but turned himself in to police the next day.
McGee had been working in New York for the past 18 months, according to Irish media reports. He was an American citizen who frequently came to New York.
In November, then-Acting District Attorney John Ryan said the six month sentence was too light considering the loss of life, but that state law prevents the office from dealing down a longer sentence. He asked the Legislature to pass a law to increase an intentional assault that results in death from a misdemeanor to a felony.
“The family of the victim were told of the limitations of this case and understood and were supportive of this outcome,” Katz said Thursday. “We, of course, would like to convey our heartfelt sympathies to the family of the victim.”
#UPDATE Steven O’Brien of #Dublin led away to 6 months in jail for #OnePunch death of #DannyMcGee of #Longford. It happened outside Queens bar on Thanksgiving morning 2018. McGee planned to return to Ireland from NYC, where he did doorman/construction work. pic.twitter.com/azWxAeuAIx
— Mary Murphy (@MurphyPIX) January 8, 2020
Wow, it’s a good thing he didn’t get arrested for more than an ounce of weed. For that, he certainly would have done more time than killing a man.
As opposed to…UNintentional murder? You might want to look up what that word means, you can’t accidentally murder someone.
He knocked him to the ground. Did he think the sidewalk was made of pillows? This was an assault that ended in a senseless death. He should at least get 6 years not months and then deport him!
6 months??? I can’t wait until someone bothers me in a bar again. I might as well punch the person because if he dies ,the worst that can happen is I’ll get 6 months. Oh no, I’m from here, I will probably get more time than the illegal
Grow up, that’s incredibly immature. all human beings on the planet are citizens of earth, and an attitude like that is what the dark ones feast upon.
Love and grace
This is not the only case of a punch-fall-killed case and it won’t be the last. Drinking and driving was and still is an issue and now its drunken pedestrians!
This is outrageous!
Wow an undocumented.. will he be deported after?
no, he will get Mets tickets and a gift card along with free housing and free medical care. i’m surprised he didn’t just get released…but six months for intentional murder, wow. there is no justice here.
As a legal Irish born immigrant this is exactly why I have no sympathy for such economic driven illegal immigration. Its is a bad idea and encourages criminal behavior from such dodgy characters against law abiding American citizens such as the victim here. Will he get a free NY driving license with his sentence? 10 years in prison and then deportation is the least he should face. He certainly didn’t care to avoid attention and live quietly.
6 months for a drunk sucker punching a guy to death???
So that means I can have “sensless confrontations” and kill people while fighting, for only 6 months it worths it.