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.