Nov. 21, 2019 By Christian Murray (updated Nov. 22)
A 26-year-old Sunnyside resident who fatally punched a fellow Irish immigrant outside the Gaslight Bar on Queens Boulevard last year pleaded guilty to assault today and will be sentenced to six months in jail.
Steven O’Brien, who lives on 42nd Street, pleaded guilty to assault in the 3rd degree, after killing 21 year-old-old John “Danny” McGee with a single punch to the head outside the 43-17 Queens Blvd. bar, according to the District Attorney’s Office.
O’Brien, who is from Dublin, and McGee, from Longford, got into an argument outside the pub at around 3:45 a.m. Nov. 22, authorities said.
O’Brien, a bartender, then punched McGee in the head and fled the scene. McGee, meanwhile, fell to the pavement in a heap. He was later pronounced dead at Elmhurst Hospital.
O’Brien turned himself into police later on that 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.
McGee was from a high-profile family in the village of Drumlish, a rural area with about 400 people. He was a talented Gaelic football and soccer player.
O’Brien is scheduled to be sentenced on Jan. 8 and is expected to serve six months in jail, most likely at Rikers Island, according to the DA’s office.
The DA’s office, however, said that the sentence was inadequate and that it was constrained by current state law.
“The facts surrounding the tragic death of Danny McGee fall into a category of cases that has become known as ‘one punch homicides’ – where one punch causes a death and the only intent that can be proved is to cause physical injury.
“Under the cases governing our prosecutions in these circumstances we can only charge third-degree assault, a misdemeanor. We believe that is an inadequate response by society to a death. We call upon the Legislature to pass a law making an intentional assault that results in death a felony.”