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Sunnyside Man’s Six Month Sentence is Too Light, District Attorney Calls on Legislature to Change Law

Nov. 22, 2019 By Christian Murray

The six-month sentence that a Sunnyside resident will receive for killing a man outside a Queens Boulevard bar with a single punch is too light and the law needs to be changed, according to the Queens District Attorney’s office.

Steven O’Brien, 26, from Dublin, pleaded guilty to assault in the third degree yesterday for killing a man with a single punch outside a Sunnyside bar on Nov. 22. He will be sentenced to six months in jail Jan. 8, 2020.

However, Acting Queens District Attorney John M. Ryan said the six-month sentence is inadequate given the victim lost his life.

O’Brien sucker-punched Danny McGee, 21, outside the Gas Light bar. McGee fell to the ground striking his head against the sidewalk. He was taken to hospital and died as a result of blunt force trauma to his head.

Ryan said that the prosecutors were constrained by state law, which needs to change.

“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.”

John Danny McGee

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15 Comments

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Anonymous

McGee instigated the fight and was very intoxicated, probably on multiple substances. There was no intention to murder and from multiple accounts O’Brien was being harassed by McGee who followed him outside. It is however very sad and yet another lesson on why bars should cut patrons off when they get very inebriated but good luck with that in this ‘hood. 6 months is a very fair sentence. Though this was a sad thing that happened it wasn’t remotely intentional and in a certain light, O’Brien was defending himself.

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Camilla

I think once you hit anyone and dies ! You need years not 6months and if people can’t drink and get violent …that’s ridiculous ..I feel sorry for the family of this guy,that died and what they are going through

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Guest

I wonder if John Danny McGee’s family and friends will be looking for Obrien when he gets out. After all killing punch gets you 6 months.

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Guest

If he was Hispanic, Middle Eastern or Black, his sentence would be much much worse. Punching someone should get you 6 months outright. Too bad this never hit jury, they would send him to chair.

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Sunnysideposthatesme

Nic cage saw 8 years after accidentally killing someone DEFENDING himself. This is bull

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Drunk irish

Six months for murder?! This guy must of ate his lucky charms. Talk about the luck of the Irish.

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Reggie

A six-month sentence would’ve made sense if it was just a sucker punch and the victim didn’t end up dead or seriously injured.

But in this case, a six-month sentence is a colossal joke. At the very least, they should’ve given him 2-to-6 years.

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Teadhg

Agreed. This guy should be minimally be doing a few years inside for any such incident where a man died. Anything less is a complete travesty. Alcohol should never be an excuse for violence.

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#lawyerinsight

When someone throws a single punch you can’t really argue that they intended to kill someone so you cannot charge them with Murder or Manslaughter. You can’t even really charge them with criminally negligent homicide because there is no reason to believe a single punch would kill a man. There literally is no higher charge they could charge him with.

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Stay Loose

Melinda Katz is constrained by the law. Which would have to be changed in the legislature. Try reading the article.

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father ted

last year when the story broke it was oh no not in this hood blah blah blah … then people stared to dig and thenthe stories started to go viral as they say and it went ah sure you know yourself .. the guy got 6 months . ok but when he gets out , hes out of here on the 104 to dublin .. I have frequented that establishment a few times and in fairness it was not my scene ……………. lots of traffic …………….. no need to change any laws , just implement the ones on the books

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CHARLES CASTRO

No need to change the law, they should have charged him with the higher crime. If the DA allowed him to plea bargain then who is to blame. Which brings me to the point of why hate crimes are a crock of chit. Had this been a hate crime , this guy would have done twenty years in prison. Since it isn’t he gets six months. How the hell is that fair to a citizen who isn’t affected by a hate crime?

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