Irish Man Accused of Throwing Fatal Punch Fights Assault Charge

Woodside resident Steven O’Brien (right) is charged with third-degree assault for allegedly throwing the punch that killed John McGee in Sunnyside on Nov. 22. He stands with his attorney Matthew Gartenberg at a court date last month. File photo by Dennis Clark.

Woodside resident Steven O’Brien (right) is charged with third-degree assault for allegedly throwing the punch that killed John McGee in Sunnyside on Nov. 22. He stands with his attorney Matthew Gartenberg at a court date last month. File photo by Dennis Clark.

By David Brand

The Woodside resident accused of throwing a punch that killed a Gaelic football player returned Thursday to Queens Criminal Court, where he continued to fight the assault charge against him.

Steven O’Brien, 25, is charged with third-degree assault for allegedly delivering the blow that killed John “Danny” McGee during an altercation outside a Sunnyside bar around 3:45 a.m. on Nov. 22, according to the criminal complaint.

McGee fell and hit his head on the ground. He was pronounced dead at Elmhurst Hospital.

O’Brien and McGee are both immigrants from Ireland and the case has generated media attention in their home country. Several of McGee’s friends and family members visited the courtroom for O’Brien’s last appearance in January.

O’Brien’s attorney Matthew Gartenberg told the Eagle that friends and family members of O’Brien and McGee returned on Thursday when O’Brien appeared before Judge Jeffrey Gershuny.

“We intend to continue litigating this matter and Mr. O’Brien maintains his innocence,” Gartenberg said.

O’Brien was released on bail following his arraignment last year. He will return to court on April 30.