Police search for bartender's killer

January 5, 2008 9:00:50 PM PST
The investigation continues into the murder of a Port Richmond bartender whose body was found in the basement of a neighboring watering hole.Investigators say they've questioned Maurisca McLaughlin, the owner of McWhitey's, but they don't believe she's being completely forthright. Police say McLaughlin and the bar manager have retained lawyers.

Authorities towed Seamus O'Neill's car, which was found outside McWhitey's located at the intersection of Mercer and Venango. Nearby residents say the bar is a constant nuisance. Fights are frequent and drug deals go down out front.

The neighbor did not want to be identified, but told Action News, "I chased a guy outside my house who was going to do a deal. I told him not outside my house, and I knew he was from that bar."

An employee of McWhitey's Bar flagged down a police officer just after noon on Friday after finding the body.

Authorities later confirmed that the body was 60-year-old Seamus O'Neill, who had been missing for several days. O'Neill was a neighborhood fixture. He was a popular bartender at My Blue Heaven, just a few blocks from the crime scene.

Sources told Action News that O'Neill had been beaten to death. Police said the body was found wrapped head to toe in a plastic tarp.

Friends of the 60-year-old can't believe why anyone would want to harm the gentle Irish immigrant.

"He was supposed to work this morning, and he never misses work. When he didn't show up, that's when we knew. It sunk in that something bad happened," said a co-worker, Kimerbly Pincoti.

O'Neill was last seen Wednesday night when he worked the late shift. He had a girlfriend and family in the area. They have been looking everywhere for him.

Police took his girlfriend and co-workers to police headquarters. They are trying to trace his last known steps.

His co-workers and patrons said he was a big-hearted man with no enemies.

"He's a really, really good guy," said John Berringer. "He had all the friends in the world."

O'Neill's car was towed away from McWhitey's so investigators can search it for evidence.

Police sources told Action News that O'Neill recently hit the numbers for $40,000. He may have come to the bar to collect. Police are questioning the bar owner and several employees.

Licenses and Inspections has shutdown McWhitey's as the investigation continues.