30-Year-Old Suicide Case Turns Out to Be Homicide

Authorities say a daughter confronted her 83-year-old father last year and he admitted fatally shooting her mother 30 years ago.

Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office (PBSO) charged James O’Neil with manslaughter Thursday in the 1987 death of his wife, Verna.

On July 23, 1987,  deputies of PBSO responded to a house in Lake Worth,  after receiving a 911 call from the homeowner, James O’Neil.

James O’Neil reported that his wife, Verna O’Neil had committed suicide. James told officer that he and Verna struggled with firearm it accidentally discharged striking Verna in the left side of her face.

The Medical Examiner listed the cause of death as gunshot wound to the head and the manner of death as undetermined.

But James’ daughter Sharon McGee never believed her father and confronted him last October.

Detectives say O’Neil told his daughter that Verna McGee had threatened to kill herself but handed him the gun. Court documents say O’Neil told his daughter he was holding the gun when he accidentally shot her mother.

She went to detectives earlier this year. The case was re-opened in February 2017 by PBSO Cold Case Unit, according to the Sheriff’s office. Additional investigation was conducted,  the Medical Examiner then reviewed the case and ruled the case as a homicide.

Associated Press contributed to this report

 
 
 
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