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Tiffany Woodie’s stepfather sentenced

By Jessie Burchette
jburchette@salisburypost.com
The stepfather of a girl severely injured in a 2005 Christmas Day wreck has pleaded guilty to assaulting her.
Thomas K. O’Neill, 49, entered a plea of guilty to assault on a female, a misdemeanor, in Rowan County Superior Court Monday.
O’Neill is the stepfather of Tiffany Woodie, who was injured in a wreck at N.C. 152 and Millbridge Road that was caused by a drunken driver.
Presiding Superior Court Judge Erwin Spainhour sentenced O’Neill to 60 days in the county jail, suspended, with 18 months probation. He must also pay court costs and a $500 fine.
G. Patrick Murphy, an attorney from the N.C. Attorney General’s office, said the assault occurred while Woodie was living with her mother and stepfather, recovering from the wreck.
“It was a horrible accident … It’s a miracle she is still alive, she spent months in the hospital and had numerous operations,” Murphy told the court.
Murphy told Spainhour that he had talked with Woodie and her father, Billy Woodie, and they had agreed to the plea arrangement.
Tiffany Woodie and members of her family were in court.
O’Neill declined to speak, other than saying he agreed to the plea.
Ron Bowers, his attorney, said O’Neill has a record of exemplary service as the operator of the print shop at the Hefner VA Medical Center.
Tiffany Woodie spoke briefly, saying that she wanted her mother to know that she was telling the truth.
O’Neill had previously been convicted of multiple charges in Rowan County District Court. He gave notice of appeal, which resulted in the the plea arrangement.
At one point, Spainhour questioned whether intensive probation or some type of counseling would be needed.
Both the prosecutor and defense attorney indicated neither would be necessary.
Responding to questions from Spainhour, Tiffany Woodie said she was still unable to work.
Spainhour questioned whether the family has taken legal action against the drunken driver. Members of the family indicated a civil suit was pending.

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