Chester County law enforcement officials say they believe that 23-year-old Sean O’Neill Jr., sought on a bench warrant, has fled the country and is in Ireland, to evade charges stemming from alleged violation of the terms of his probation, stemming from a 2011 DUI crash. O’Neill faced charges as juvenile in 2006 related to the shooting of a Willistown teen.
Chester County District Attorney Thomas Hogan said O’Neill may have joined his father — Sean O’Neill Sr. — who was deported last year following his own criminal conviction and subsequent prison sentence from 2006 weapons charges. Chester County Detectives have confirmed that the younger O’Neill is in Ireland.
While the manhunt for O’Neill appears to be over, law enforcement officials say they will remain vigilant — and take any opportunity to return him to custody.
“If O’Neill ever returns to the United States, he will be arrested immediately,” Hogan said in a statement.
O’Neill’s most recent probation followed his sentence of 60 days to six months in prison in July for crashing a Cadillac SUV into the garage of a house on Westtown Road in West Goshen the early morning of Nov. 24, 2011, Hogan said. Hogan noted that O’Neill’s blood-alcohol level was .258, more than three times the legal limit.
O’Neill served his time in prison, but was on parole until he failed drug and alcohol tests, Hogan said, prompting him to stop compliying with the terms of of his probation. That led to a bench warrant and a search for O’Neill earlier this week.
In September 2006, O’Neill was charged with shooting and killing his friend, Scott Sheridan, at the O’Neill’s former home in Willistown Township, where he reportedly was hosting an underage drinking party while his parents were at the Jersey Shore. O’Neill was charged as an adult, but his case was transferred to juvenile court where he was adjudicated delinquent on involuntary manslaughter and aggravated assault charges.
The investigation into Sheridan’s death prompted a search of the O’Neills’ residence that led to a federal firearms conviction for O’Neill’s father, Sean O. O’Neill Sr., an undocumented immigrant and former Delaware County pub owner. He was deported to Ireland last year after serving an 18-month jail sentence.