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.”