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Suspect in Roommate Homicide is Son of Virgin Islands Senator

His mother has served in the capacity of Senator for three terms.

Stephen O'Reilly, 24, turned himself in on April 1, after a nationwide manhunt was conducted over the weekend.

The Gwinnett Daily Post reports that O'Reilly is the son of Virgin Islands Sen. Nereida "Nellie" Rivera-O'Reilly. According to her online biography, she is a former member of the V.I. Commission on the Status of Women and the V.I. Humanities Council Board. She is also described as "a dedicated wife, mother and daughter" who "enjoys spending time with her husband John and their two sons Stephen and Brandon."

O'Reilly moved to Florida in 2009 when he joined the North Florida University basketball team in Jacksonville. He didn't play long, despite the fact that he was a "standout" player, according to the GDP. 

O'Reilly then transferred to Morehouse College in Atlanta. 

On March 30, Gwinnett County Police Department officers were dispatched to a homicide at 2467 Hurndon Road in unincorporated Snellville a little after noon. (Hurndon Road is located off of Pate Road, between Skyland and Springdale.)

When officers arrived, they found 28-year-old Brent Francis suffering from multiple stab wounds. Before dying from his wounds at Gwinnett Medical Center, he told police that his roommate, O’Reilly, 24, was the man who had attacked him.  

A number of O'Reilly's acquaintances commented on Snellville Patch's original story on the homicide, saying that he came "from a well respected family." 

"Knowing Stephen, there has to be more [to the story]," wrote in a Patch reader who identified as "24". "He was raised in a good family by an amazing woman! People looked up to him, believed in him, pushed him hard to follow his dreams...he was loved by many."

Francis' friends and family spoke well of him as well.

"I have known Brent for over 15 years and he was an amazing young man," wrote Cynthia H. "My heart broke when I got news of this horrible incident. I will be praying for his mother, sister and the rest of the family."

Police said O’Reilly fled the scene in Francis’ vehicle, a black 1994 Toyota Camry. Detectives obtained a murder warrant against O’Reilly based on Francis’ statement and evidence collected at the scene. 

O'Reilly is awaiting extradition and transport back to Gwinnett County. The motive is still under investigation, according to Gwinnett County Police.  

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