ROCKVILLE, Md. (ABC7) — A former NSA division chief and self-described Desert Storm war hero has been sentenced to 12 years in prison for beating his adopted son to death.
Brian O’Callaghan, 38, of Damascus, issued an emotional apology with a cracked voice, saying, in part:
"There never should have been a place for Madoc to be in a room alone with me... I robbed him of his life... I wonder if even God can forgive me."
In October 2013, O’Callaghan and his wife Jennifer adopted Madoc from Korea. It was a long and drawn out process, as many adoptions are.
Madoc made an instant bond with Jennifer, but struggled to connect with O’Callaghan. Nevertheless, the two were left alone on January 31. By February 1, 2014, O’Callaghan arrived at the Adventist HealthCare Germantown Emergency Center. Madoc was unresponsive and in medical distress. He died days later at Children’s National Medical Center in D.C. An autopsy determined his injuries to include a severe skull fracture, hemorrhaged brain and eyes, plus trauma to the scrotum.
In November 2015, O’Callaghan pleaded guilty to one count of First Degree Child Abuse Resulting In Death, claiming he killed little Madoc during a posttraumatic stress disorder (PSTD) episode at the family’s two-story Damascus home.
During sentencing in Montgomery County Circuit Court, O’Callaghan’s defense team called a number of witnesses to the stand, in hopes of shaving time off his potential prison sentence. Among the list of witnesses: a wounded warrior counselor, National Security Agency (NSA) chaplain and renowned neurologist.
The neurologist, which the defense paid $350 an hour, testified that O’Callaghan’s PTSD, a change in his therapy and medication, plus possible exposure to steroids created the perfect storm, allowing him to snap at any moment.
Following nearly six hours of proceedings, a judge issued the 12-year-sentence. After factoring in time served and Maryland parole benefits, O’Callaghan could be eligible for release in as few as five years.
Following his prison term, O’Callaghan will be on probation for three years. Should he violate the terms of his probation, a judge could tack on an additional eight-year sentence.