Bail set at $500,000 for O'Connell charged with shooting firefighter
A member of one of Quincy’s most powerful families was arraigned Wednesday on charges he shot and critically wounded an off-duty Milton firefighter during the weekend.
Robert O’Connell, 40, the son of Marina Bay developer and former mayoral candidate Peter O’Connell, walked into Quincy police headquarters with his lawyer, John McGlone III of Quincy, at 8:15 a.m. Wednesday.
Judge Mark Coven set bail at $500,000. If O'Connell posts it, he will have to wear a GPS monitoring and remain inside his Marina Bay condo. A probable cause hearing has been scheduled for next month.
Joseph Fasano, 30, of Quincy, was shot in the abdomen shortly before midnight Saturday at the corner of Hancock Street and Commander Shea Boulevard, less than 2 miles from where O’Connell lives. Police are not commenting on a possible motive for the shooting.
Police confirmed Wednesday that a small amount of cocaine "consistent with personal use" was found inside the Jeep that Fasano was driving Saturday night. No charges have been filed in connection with the drugs.
Before his son's arraignment in Quincy District Court, Peter O'Connell said: "The family is praying for all the parties involved. He's just distraught."
McGlone told reporters Wednesday that his client's world, "has been tipped upside down" by his arrest and that he has never been arrested before. He said O'Connell was driving home alone at the time of the shooting after having dinner with friends.
Quincy police began watching O'Connell's condo and parking spot on Monday. Tuesday night, they towed O’Connell’s Porsche Cayman from its spot at the Marina Bay condominium complex where he lives. They also searched his condo and recovered guns and ammunition, including a .45 caliber gun believed to be the weapon used in the Saturday night shooting. O'Connell has had a license to carry a gun since 2007, but police said they will move to get that license revoked.
Fasano, a Milton firefighter for the past four years, has undergone several surgeries at Boston Medical Center and is still in critical condition.
Police said that Fasano and his live-in girlfriend had just stopped for gas at the Hess station on Hancock Street not far from where they live when a Porsche got ahead of the Jeep Fasano was driving. Fasano’s girlfriend, who owns the Jeep, told police that the driver of the Porsche repeatedly hit the brakes then accelerated, a maneuver typically used to irritate the other driver. Both men stopped their cars and got out. That’s when the driver of the Porsche shot Fasano once in the abdomen and then drove away, police said.
Police traced the Porsche to O’Connell using videotape taken by surveillance cameras at nearby businesses and residences. A camera captured an image of O'Connell driving up to his condo minutes after the shooting, police said.
"This was a very difficult crime to solve," Police Chief Paul Keenan said. "We did not have much to go on." He said O'Connell is not talking to police on the advice of his lawyer.
McGlone noted that Fasano's girlfriend, whose name police are not releasing because she is a witness, did not identify the driver of the Porsche and only gave police part of the license plate number. Plus, she described the Porsche as being silver. O'Connell's is brown.
Police said they are continuing to investigate what connection O'Connell may have to Fasano and his girlfriend and what may have prompted the confrontation.
Fasano lives with the woman in a condo at 90 Quincy Shore Drive. According to the city assessor's office, William O'Connell, Robert O'Connell's uncle, owns the condo in which the couple live.
Fasano was on probation for 14 months and ordered to attend Alcoholics Anonymous meetings until May 2008 following a fight he had with his former girlfriend at his Weymouth apartment in March 2007. Police reported that Fasano flashed his firefighter's badge and later threatened to kill one of the officers who arrived to break up the fight. He was sentenced to probation for domestic assault and battery, threatening to commit a crime and disorderly conduct.
On Saturday, Fasano and his current girlfriend went to a birthday party for Fasano's mother in Milton and then went to a bar in Dorchester., police said. They were on their way home to their condo when the shooting happened.
O'Connell was charged with assault with intent to murder, assault and battery with a dangerous weapon and unlawful discharge of a firearm.
O’Connell listed his occupation as a real estate developer with Marina Bay Development on a report filed earlier this year with the state Office of Campaign and Political Finance.
He and his extended family have given thousands of dollars to local politicians and candidates over the years, including to U.S. Rep. William Delahunt, who lives at Marina Bay, and Treasurer Tim Cahill, also of Quincy.
O’Connell is a 1987 graduate of Archbishop Williams High School. His father, Peter, and uncle, William O’Connell, developed Marina Bay, State Street South and Boston’s World Trade Center and are principals in Quarry Hills Associates, the owners of Granite Links Golf Club. Peter O’Connell ran for mayor in 1989, but lost to James Sheets in a landslide. Peter O’Connell has been honored by several groups over the years for his charitable efforts.
This is not the first time that the extended O’Connell clan has run into trouble with police. Robert O’Connell’s cousin, Matthew “Ky” O’Connell, was convicted of second-degree murder in the 1987 stabbing death of Julie Hamilton, 22, who grew up in Randolph. Hamilton’s body was found in a shallow grave in a wooded area about 100 feet from the house where Matthew O’Connell was living with his mother.
Matthew O’Connell, William O’Connell’s son, was sentenced to life in prison with the possibility of parole after 15 years.
William O’Connell was given six months probation after being charged with negligent motorboat homicide in 2002. O’Connell’s best friend, William Sanderson, 62, of Quincy, was killed when he was struck by the propellers of a boat with O’Connell at the helm off Chappaquiddick Island. A charge of drunken operation of a boat was dismissed.
Patriot Ledger writer Jack Encarnacao may be reached email@example.com
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