Arrest in bartender's murder

January 11, 2008 4:31:46 PM PST
Authorities have made an arrest in the murder of a beloved bartender in Port Richmond. The suspect, 36-year-old John McLaughlin, was taken into custody along with a second person by U.S. Marshals at the Executive Inn in Coopersburg.

McLaughlin is the operator of McWhitey's bar where the body of 60-year-old Seamus O'Neill was found last week.

"This is a very brutal homicide. The victim died of blunt trauma to the head and body," said Chief Inspector Keith Sadler of the Philadelphia Police.

O'Neill's body was found wrapped up in a tarp in the basement of McWhitey's. Police said O'Neill bartended at My Blue Heaven. He was last seen there on the night of January 2nd, and it was believed he went directly to McWhitey's.

A warrant was issued for McLaughlin on Tuesday. He is now charged with murder

Police also arrested John Ciglar, 44, on charges of hindering an apprehension, abuse of a corpse, attempt to dispose of the body and cleaning up the crime scene.

In his neighborhood and on the Port Richmond street where McLaughlin is well known, nervous neighbors declined to talk about the suspect. In contrast, the victim was described as a great guy. He worked at a bar just a few blocks away.

"It really scares me because you never know what could happen in your own neighborhood," said Kim Piniciotti.

Police believe McLaughlin killed O'Neill with a baseball bat after the two argued over something trivial.