Death at Page Restaurant brings prison sentence
BRENTWOOD — A Dover man who leveled a fatal punch that killed 24-year-old Joshua Krantz during an unprovoked assault at The Page Restaurant in Portsmouth pleaded guilty on Thursday to manslaughter instead of going to trial.
Zachary O'Neill, 24, pleaded guilty to a single count of manslaughter as part of a negotiated plea deal with county prosecutors, according to Interim County Attorney James Boffetti.
O'Neill is expected to receive a 10 ½ to 22 year prison term when he appears for sentencing on Jan. 23.
The plea deal was worked out following the last pre-trial hearing for O'Neill, who had faced charges of manslaughter and first-degree assault for attacking Krantz on April 6.
O'Neill could have faced up to 18 ½ to 33 years in state prison had he been convicted by a jury of the manslaughter charge. The first-degree assault charge also carried an enhanced prison term of 11 to 22 years, according to indictments.
His trial was scheduled to begin later this month.
Krantz was attacked from behind on a basement-level dance floor around 12:43 a.m., police said. O'Neill went after Krantz for accidentally spilling a drink on him earlier in the night, according to prosecutors. He was free on bail in another case at the time of the attack, prosecutors said.
Krantz went home after being hit, and was found dead in his Dover apartment hours later. O'Neill was identified as a suspect a few days later.
An employee at The Page told police that O'Neill said he waited until nearly the end of closing time to hit Krantz because he didn't want to ruin his own night. Krantz reportedly spilled a drink on O'Neill earlier in the night, police said.
Krantz died from an acute epidural hematoma that occurred as a result of his skull being fractured, prosecutors said.
The Page closed its doors permanently on June 21 once the city filed a petition with the state Liquor Commission to terminate the bar's liquor license.
The attack on Krantz was the latest in a series of violent assaults and fights that happened in and outside of the once-popular downtown nightspot.