Philly jury acquits man of shooting another in the heart 2 years ago

Kristen Johanson
November 19, 2019 - 4:51 pm

PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — A Philadelphia jury has acquitted a man who fatally shot another outside an auto mechanic shop where the two worked. The killing was sparked by an argument over urination.

While on the stand, Eucal O'Connor admitted he shot William Rodriguez nearly two years ago outside a car shop the pair worked in, but claimed it was in self-defense because the victim was repeatedly punching him, upset that O'Connor had just peed on his tools outside the shop. 

Prosecutors say O'Connor shot the unarmed man through the heart, when instead he had a duty to flee. They also argued to tack on a voluntary manslaughter charge, but the judge denied the request.  

Moments after the Dec. 30, 2017 shooting, O'Connor testified that he went straight to the police station to tell the cops what happened. Moments later, he said he was in handcuffs. Hours later, he was charged with murder. 

O'Connor legally owned the gun used in the killing.

The 41-year-old has now been acquitted of both third-degree murder and a weapons offense. 

His attorney, Paul Lang, embraced the man he has been fighting for.

"Eucal never understood why he was charged in the first place. He put his faith in the system by coming over here legally. By getting a concealed carry permit and a gun permit legally, and by going to the police station immediately after," Lang said. "His faith is not restored in the prosecutor's office because of their horrible decisions (by supervisors), however, he does still have his faith in the jury system."

Lang says a judge dismissed murder charges against O'Connor at the first preliminary hearing, but prosecutors then came back and refiled third-degree murder charges. O'Connor was eventually released on 10 percent of $75,000 bail.

On the other side of the courtroom, Rodriguez’s family was in tears, devastated at the not guilty verdict.  

Assistant Dave Osbourne, who tried the 1 1/2-week case, says they are disappointed with the verdict but respect the jury’s decision.