A short-lived reunion
On Wednesday Sean O’Neill Jr. was allowed to return to his family’s home – just over the county line in Willistown – after spending nine months at the George Junior juvenile detention facility in Grove City.
O’Neill was a guest there for his role in the shooting death of his Cardinal O’Hara High School classmate, Scott Sheridan.
O’Neill shot and killed Sheridan, his best friend, back on Sept. 1, 2006, after a night of unsupervised partying at the sprawling home. He was 17 at the time. At one point in the night, O’Neill and some friends cruised around western Delaware County, shooting up at least one car.
When they returned to the O’Neill home, Sean O’Neill Jr. is believed to have pointed a gun at Sheridan. The weapon went off. Sheridan died in O’Neill’s arms.
Last Wednesday a Chester County judge allowed him to return home under some strict some strict conditions.
Friday morning there were more visitors to the O’Neill home. Sean O’Neill Sr., 48, was arrested by a phalanx of federal authorities on immigration and weapons charges.
O’Neill Sr. is the former owner of Maggie O’Neill’s Irish Pub and Restaurant in Drexel Hill.
The federal indictment paints a far different picture of O’Neill Sr. than that of the popular restaurateur.
The feds say O’Neill has ties to Irish groups, including one-time membership in Fianna na h’Eirann, the youth group of the Irish Republican Army.
The feds allege O’Neill Sr. consistently misrepresented about his Irish connections and also provided false information in attempting to receive a green card. They also charged him with illegal possession of a silencer.
He faces a bail hearing on Wednesday.
I consider myself a proud Irishman. I am told that I have relatives in Ireland. One family legend actually claims that our family dropped the ‘o’ in O’Heron when they came to this country. I’m not sure if that’s actually true, or is just part of my family’s Irish lore.
But I have to admit the charges against the elder O’Neill are fairly stunning. This is a guy who stood by his son at every court hearing.
Now their situations are reversed. O’Neill Jr. is now home. His father sits behind bars.
Several people have responded to the Web site and the story on O’Neill Sr.’s arrest to question the feds’ motivation and if they don’t have anything better to do than to hassle a law-abiding citizen. It’s also clear they believe O’Neill was targeted because of his ethnicity. You might say the move by the feds against O’Neill got their Irish up.
I’ll be very interested to see how this case pans out. We’ll keep you updated.