After suffering through four brain surgeries and months of rehabilitation from an assault last July outside a pub in Woodlawn,New York, Irishman Barry McCormack has vowed he will never step foot again in the once inviting Irish neighborhood.
He is deeply angry that his alleged assailant was only charged with a misdemeanor. A similar case last week in New York has resulted in felony charges
McCormack, 35, his wife, and a group of friends were leaving McGinn's Tavern on Katonah Ave after dinner there when he encountered an inebriated man swinging on a pole outside. McCormack and the man, Cornelius O'Shea, argued, and O’Shea allegedly punched McCormack once in the head. He fell to the ground and was severely injured
Barry McCormack can no longer romp around with his two young children, Patrick, 3, and Aiden, 2 and must wear a helmet 24/7 until his next brain surgery in the fall.
O’Shea, who has two arrests for DWI and one for driving without a license, was charged with misdemeanor assault for striking McCormack. O'Shea pleaded not guilty and was released on $1,000 bail. The trial is set for May 12.
He only faces up to a year if convicted "for nearly ending my 35," McCormack told the Daily News.
McCormack and his wife are angry that in a recent, similar case involving a Queens man who delivered a single blow to the head of a Bronx woman, which put her into a comma, a Manhattan grand jury indicted that suspect on felony assault. He faces up to seven years in prison if convicted.
Said McCormack’s lawyer, Karen Johnston: "That was my first question - why wasn't [O'Shea] charged with a felony? I've complained to the DA's office from the beginning."
"Yes, there were serious injuries," said Bronx District Attorney spokesman Steven Reed. "But based on the facts and circumstances, we could not charge a felony because we were unable to prove intent."
"I don't know if we would be here if that case in Manhattan didn't happen, but it brought everything back to the forefront," said Johnston.
"It took one punch, a brain injury, and obviously that grand jury felt if you punch someone in the head, the intent's there," he continued. "And I think a grand jury would have felt the same way here."
O’Shea’s lawyer, Westchester-based defense attorney Louis Ecker, said, "We intend to the take the case to trial, and we don't think he's going to be convicted. We're just waiting for our day in court."
Meanwhile, McCormack is unable to return to his job as an engineer and project manager. He and his wife, Cheryl, are trying to pick up the pieces of their life.
"All I kept hearing was the banging noise of his head on the concrete," said Cheryl.
"I couldn't sleep, eat, do anything for months," she said. "Any money that we had for our savings is gone now."
McCormack, who hails from Dublin, and his wife are considering moving back to Ireland
"We're just hoping to get some justice," said Cheryl McCormack. "Somebody like this should not be out in the streets, because next time he might actually end up killing someone."