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Testimony: Murder victim stabbed 18 times while sleeping

Stephen O'Reilly

Stephen O'Reilly

LAWRENCEVILLE -- Stephen O'Reilly's mother -- a senator in the Virgins Islands -- set him up in Snellville, asking the 24-year-old's uncle to help him get back on the right track.

The uncle made good and brought O'Reilly, once a standout basketball player and the first person in his mother's family to attend college, into his home on Hurndon Road. O'Reilly lived there for about a month before allegedly stabbing a third roommate more than 18 times while he slept.

"It literally looked like a slaughterhouse," Gwinnett County Police Det. David Brucz said Tuesday morning.

Brucz testified prior to a magistrate judge binding murder and aggravated assault charges against O'Reilly over to superior court. He painted a clearer picture of what happened March 29 -- but not why.

According to testimony, O'Reilly's uncle, Luis Rivera, and the victim, 28-year-old Brent Francis, were out late partying the evening prior. Rivera dropped Francis off at the home at about 5 a.m. before leaving to do some maintenance work elsewhere.

When Rivera returned around 12:20 p.m., Francis was reportedly lying in a pool of blood in the garage, screaming, "Please help me, Stephen stabbed me!" Francis later died at Gwinnett Medical Center.

The stab wounds, all but a few on the left side of his chest, were "pretty deep" but possibly survivable -- if Francis had not had sickle cell anemia, which he was taking prescription medication for.

"The medical examiner said he bled out due to sickle cell disease," Brucz said.

The medical examiner also said that the wounds made it appear that Francis was either asleep or lying down when attacked.

The house, Brucz said, was covered in blood -- there was a pool near a basement couch (where the incident is believed to have started), a "huge pool" in the nearby laundry room (where Francis is believed to have crawled to try and help himself) and another pool in the garage. The basement walls were drenched in red from the wounds reportedly administered by an 8- to 12-inch butcher knife, which was recovered in the backyard.

Despite the violent scene, Brucz said it appeared that O'Reilly and the victim, who was also from the Virgin Islands, had a "pretty decent relationship."

"(O'Reilly) never gave any sort of motive or anything like that," Brucz said.

O'Reilly, the son of Virgin Islands Senator Nellie Rivera-O'Reilly, was a standout basketball player back home, setting the islands' scoring record in high school. He joined the hoops team at North Florida University in Jacksonville in 2009, but, after receiving little playing time in only half a season there, withdrew from classes and transferred to Morehouse College in Atlanta.

What happened in the several years between that and his arrival at his uncle's home in Snellville is unclear. Rivera-O'Reilly reportedly told her brother that O'Reilly had "fallen off the right path" and that his mind "hadn't been the same" since he smoked some "bad pot" in North Carolina.

After allegedly stabbing Francis, O'Reilly drove the victim's car to Pensacola, Fla., where his godmother helped him turn himself in, Brucz said Tuesday.

O'Reilly was extradited to the Gwinnett County jail on April 15. He's being held without bond.

Comments

suedehead 11 months, 3 weeks ago

I suspect the "bad pot" is actually meth or rock. That's why he "hasn't been the same." Weed, good or bad, doesn't make someone lose it and suddenly kill.

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kevin 11 months, 3 weeks ago

Just another of a long list of examples that these thugs can't be reformed, especially NOT in a public system. When their own family doesn't help one another, they will be better off in the next world.

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LadyJay 11 months, 3 weeks ago

That is so uneducated of you to say. Neither one of these boys could be thugs if the tried really hard. Get your facts first before you attempt to make such a comment about who they are and what they family members can or cannot do.

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jdmlove 9 months, 3 weeks ago

Who said their families weren't helping one another. There were no thugs involved in this incident. I wish people would pull their heads out of their a****.

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LilburnLady 11 months, 3 weeks ago

There are some real horror stories about people who have smoked synthetic pot and then gone completely crazy due to lingering hallucinations or flashbacks. They are selling this stuff over the counter in smoke shops to teenagers and young people (marked as potpourri) who have no idea exactly what chemicals are in it. These kids have suffered strokes leaving them with permanent brain damage and/or permanent mental conditions. Noticed another one called "Smoke and Toke" opening right next to a Walmart grocery store in Lawrenceville the other day. Talk to your kids about this stuff....it is poison.

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suedehead 11 months, 3 weeks ago

True. I didn't think about synthetic smokes. There's an article in the current ESPN Mag about former Auburn football players and Spice and how they ruined these young men and their future.

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LadyJay 11 months, 3 weeks ago

He did not smoke the synthetic pot, he smoked the actual weed. It was laced with something else and that's why he went crazy and was getting treatment for it. Whatever it was laced with made him hallucinate and think ppl were out to get him.

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LadyJay 11 months, 3 weeks ago

These two gentlemen were very good men, no criminal history, never got in trouble with the law, respectable and family oriented. Plz lets not bash them or talk negatively about either party. Lets just keep both parents uplifted in pray, they both lost a son.

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Motor76 11 months, 2 weeks ago

Yeah...yeah...And one of those "very good men" was a "very good killer" too. I have never known a "GENTLEman" to stab another human 18 times. Lady Jay the real world is waiting for your return.

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Haughton 11 months, 2 weeks ago

It sounds as if this poster is in denial about what her family member or friend has done. She is understandably very defensive. Trying to change public opinion will not change what happens in court. Reality will hit hard for LadyJay.

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jdmlove 9 months, 3 weeks ago

I think the two of you replying to this are completely insensitive! It's not about trying to change public opinion, but it's extremely frustrating to see people making assumptions about someone you grew up with, as if you people know their life stories. People are quick to think that these guys were "thugs" and that they were bad people, when the total opposite is true. Just because you heard about the end result doesn't mean you can assume you know their pasts. One of these guys was a good friend of mine since middle school, and this story came as a complete shock. He came from a wonderful family. My prayers are with both families who lost their sons. Until you have this happen to someone you know and love, you'll never understand or stop making assumptions about people. Maybe the both of you will be the ones facing "reality".

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Haven 8 months, 2 weeks ago

I knew this young man when he was in HS, regular person from a good family, went off the rails at some point, it could have happened to anyone, get a clue before you cast judgement on someone you don't know. He wasn't a thug, pretty sad and funny what people write when they don't know someone. Think what you want but I'm telling you this guy was not a "thug" or whatever else you might come up with. My heart goes out to him his family and the victim.

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