Man convicted for second time of pal's murder
A man who claimed he was acting in self-defence when he bludgeoned his friend to death with a rock weighing 1.6kg has been convicted of his murder for a second time.
Thomas O'Connor (29), of Burnaby Court, Greystones, Co Wicklow, had been charged with murdering John O'Brien, who was from Burnaby Lawns in Greystones, on June 4, 2010.
The father-of-one denied murder but admitted manslaughter.
O'Connor had admitted hitting Mr O'Brien over the head with the boulder "two or three times" but said he only did so to protect himself after his friend attacked him.
A post-mortem later revealed Mr O'Brien died from "catastrophic injuries" as a result of blunt force trauma to the head.
Yesterday, a jury at the Central Criminal Court took just under four hours to find him guilty of murdering Mr O'Brien.
This is the second time O'Connor has been convicted of Mr O'Brien's murder.
In June 2010, he was found guilty following a trial but this was overturned in 2014 this verdict.
O'Connor, who was 22 at the time of the killing, now faces a mandatory life sentence.
During their deliberations, the jury of six men and six women asked to re-examine the murder weapon.
They returned less than half an hour later to find the accused guilty of murder.
Trial judge Ms Justice Margaret Heneghan remanded the accused in custody for sentencing on March 23 and exempt the jury from service for 10 years.
During the nine-day trial, O'Connor claimed that Mr O'Brien was alive and "still moving" when he fled the scene shortly before midnight.
But paramedics said all signs of life from the victim were absent when they arrived minutes later.
Defence counsel Feargal Kavanagh SC said that both the deceased and accused "knew each other and socialised with each other, possibly drinking to excess".