crime

Father Admits to Daughter He Murdered her Mother 30 years Ago

murdered mother

Sharon McGee simply could not believe her daddy when he said her mother accidentally shot herself to death when threatening suicide 30 years back, it now appears he murdered his own wife and McGee’s mother. Late last year, she confronted her father, James O’Neil, 83, from Florida and wanted to hear the truth. Finally, her dad told her a story very different than the one he told her, and the police officers, decades ago.

According to court records, O’Neil told his daughter her mother was threatening to kill herself. She pulled out a gun and he wrested it away from her.Verna O’Neil then said she wished to die and her husband responded: “Let me show you how it is done” and pulled the trigger.

McGee kept her father’s confession a secret for many months before going to police earlier this year, according to court records. On Thursday, O’Neil, now 83, was charged with manslaughter. He was released Friday on $50,000 bail. The alleged murder’s lawyer, Michael Salnick, didn’t return a telephone call seeking comment.

According to an arrest affidavit written by Palm Beach County sheriff’s Detective Paige McCann, Verna O’Neil died on July 23, 1987, by a gunshot to her face. She was only 50 years old. James O’Neil told researchers that night that he and his wife had been arguing over her excessive drinking and his burnt dinner. He told them she had been sitting on the sofa when she pulled their handgun, a .357 Magnum, from underneath the pillow.

He jumped on her to attempt to pull on the revolver away and in the ensuing struggle it went off, killing her. Detectives later categorized her death as a suicide. It stayed that way until McGee went into the sheriff’s office in February. She told detectives she was 28 when her mother died and had never ever believed her father’s story. Last October, she said, she confronted him.

Shocking Truth

The father finally told McGee the shocking truth. He had wrested the gun from her mum and then asked his wife what she wanted, according to court records. He advised McGee her mother answered that she wished to die, so he said, “Let me show you how it is done.”He advised McGee he pried back the hammer, pointed the gun at her and pulled the trigger, but insisted that the shooting was an accident, according to court records. He advised her to keep it a secret, sending her a text message that day, “I’m presuming that you will sleep much better tonight, Love Dad.”Four months later, McGee went into the sheriff’s office.During two interviews with McCann in April, O’Neil told the detective that after threatening suicide, his wife had handed him the gun without a battle. He said as he held it, the gun went off accidentally. He advised McCann that the gun had a hair trigger, meaning it may fire with a light pull, but tests conducted in 1987 revealed the gun required normal trigger pressure to fire.McGee didn’t return a telephone message left at a number listed for her.

After the father told the truth he advised his daughter to keep it a secret, sending her a text message that day, “I’m presuming that you will sleep much better tonight, Love Dad.”Four months later, McGee went into the sheriff’s office.During two interviews with McCann in April, O’Neil told the detective that after threatening suicide, his wife had handed him the gun without a battle. He said as he held it, the gun went off accidentally. He advised McCann that the gun had a hair trigger, meaning it may fire with a light pull, but tests conducted in 1987 revealed the gun required normal trigger pressure to fire.McGee didn’t return a telephone message left at a number listed for her.

During two interviews with McCann in April, O’Neil told the detective that after threatening suicide, his wife had handed him the gun without a battle. He said as he held it, the gun went off accidentally. He advised McCann that the gun had a hair trigger, meaning it may fire with a light pull, but tests conducted in 1987 revealed the gun required normal trigger pressure to fire. McGee didn’t respond to the story.

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