With autopsy results pending, the family of a boy accused of punching Bailey O’Neill during a school fight is talking for the first time.
“My son is not the monster that everybody is trying to make him out to be,” the father of the accused boy told NBC10’s Katy Zachry in an exclusive interview. We are not using the father’s name in order to protect the identity of his son, who is a minor.
The Delaware County father said he feels bad for everyone involved.
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“I feel sorry, you know. I feel sorry for the young man and I feel sorry for my son because my son’s depicted as a bully,” he said.
O’Neill was hurt during a school fight on January 10. His family says the sixth grader was jumped by two other students at Darby Township School. Bailey was taken to the hospital after the fight and treated for a broken nose and concussion. More than a week later, Bailey began having concussions, was hospitalized and put into a medically-induced coma. He died Sunday, one day after his birthday, when the O’Neill family took him off life support.
O’Neill’s family contends that his seizures were caused by the injuries he suffered in that school fight and that Bailey had been bullied.
Autopsy results should answer the critical question in this case: Did the injuries O’Neill suffered in the school fight somehow contribute to or cause his death? The Philadelphia medical examiner said today he does not expect to have those results for several weeks.
The father of the accused boy said he does not expect the medical examiner’s findings to lead back to his son.
“I don’t think so,” said the alleged bully’s father. “My son is very slight. But I’m not a doctor.”
Investigators with the Delaware County district attorney’s office are working with police to determine if the school fight was an isolated incident or if there is a case to be made for bullying. On Monday, after a second round of interviews at the school, district attorney Jack Whelan told NBC10’s Harry Hairston that at this point, the evidence did not support the bullying claim.
"We, in the district attorney's office, and law enforcement, and the criminal justice system would have to be able to prove, beyond a reasonable doubt, that the death of Bailey was the result of the incident," Whelan said.
The father of the boy accused of bullying says he does not believe his son should or will be criminally charged.
“No because I know my son is not guilty of anything,” said the man. Like many other people in the community, the father is saddened by what happened and said he feels for O’Neill’s family.
“I don’t know the family, but no one wants death on anybody.”
A viewing for O'Neill is scheduled for Friday from 6 to 9 p.m. at Cavanaugh's Funeral Home in Norwood, Pa. His funeral is Saturday morning at 11 at St. Joe's Church in Collingdale.