Dracut man who allegedly tried kill wife before himself is arraigned


LOWELL — A 59-year-old Dracut man accused of stabbing his wife in a bloody Jan. 16 domestic attack, and then trying to kill himself, was ordered held without bail as he was arraigned Wednesday in the hospital bed where he is recovering.

James O’Neil is charged with armed assault with intent to murder, assault and battery with a dangerous weapon and assault and battery on a family or household member.

O’Neil is accused of stabbing his wife during an early-morning incident at the estranged couple’s home at 7 Sesame St., in Dracut, according to sources.

Police were called to the home shortly after midnight by a 911 call placed by a family member who was in another room of the home, sources have said.

A police officer arrived to find a female victim bleeding heavily from a stab wound, and used a tourniquet to stem the bleeding until other emergency crews arrived, according to sources.

O’Neil fled the home after the attack, and then tried to kill himself by driving his car into a tree nearby at the intersection of Methuen Street and Parker Road, according to a source.

O’Neil was conscious when emergency crews arrived at the crash, but was able to tell police what had happened, according to sources.

Investigators obtained a warrant for O’Neil’s arrest later on Jan. 16, but O’Neil’s condition prevented him from being arraigned before Wednesday.

A reading of the allegations against O’Neil was waived as he was arraigned in his hospital bed at Lahey Hospital and Medical Center in Burlington Wednesday morning.

Assistant District Attorney Suzanne Kontz asked that O’Neil be held without bail pending a dangerousness hearing, and Judge Ellen Caulo agreed with the request.

Caulo did not schedule a date for that hearing since it will not be held until O’Neil’s condition allows. She scheduled a status hearing on the issue for Friday in Lowell District Court.

O’Neil’s attorney, Claudia Lagos, urged people not to rush to judgment about what happened as the process of determining O’Neil’s guilt is only starting.

“This was an enormous tragedy for the O’Neil family,” Lagos said. “We’re just trying to figure out what happened.”

Follow Robert Mills on Twitter @Robert_Mills