Thursday, July 12, 2001
Autopsy on Judge Inconclusive; Toxicology Exam Scheduled
From Staff and Wire Service Reports
An autopsy performed on the body of Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Stephen O’Neil yesterday proved inconclusive, a coroner’s spokesman said.
A toxicology exam is scheduled to take place with results expected within four to six weeks, coroner’s office spokesman Scott Carrier said.
“There is no foul play involved and no sign of any trauma,” Carrier said, adding that ordering a toxicology exam is a routine study.
O’Neil, 56, was found dead Tuesday in his Palos Verdes Estates home by sheriff’s deputies sent by court officials when he failed to show up at work.
The judge had been under the care of a doctor for diabetes, Carrier said.
Because of his diabetes, O’Neil’s past medical history will be obtained by the coroner’s office and examined, Carrier said.
O’Neil received a medical discharge in 1977 from the U.S. Navy after a routine medical exam diagnosed him as diabetic and declared him unfit for service.
A 15-year veteran of the Los Angeles County bench, serving as both a Los Angles Municipal Court judge and later as a Superior Court judge, O’Neil was praised by his predecessor interim supervising judge David Wesley, who said he was a better bench officer for knowing O’Neil.
As Wesley took over proceedings in the courtroom yesterday where O’Neil had worked since January, he asked the capacity audience to stand before the day’s hearings got under way to pay tribute to the popular jurist.
“I’m a better judge for having known Stephen O’Neil,” said Wesley, who was named the interim supervising judge for criminal courts after O’Neil’s body was discovered. “He will be missed by us all.”
O’Neil is survived by his wife, Court of Appeal Justice Patti Kitching of this district’s Div. Three, and two adult children, Kristin and Michael.
Plans for services are pending.
Copyright 2001, Metropolitan News Company