Neighbor shares story on finding murder victim

By Erika Mahoney

December 31, 2013 Updated Jan 1, 2014 at 4:20 PM EDT

Town of Norwich, NY (WBNG Binghamton) On Christmas Day, Mitchell O'Neil decided to welcome a new family to his neighborhood.

A woman, Lucinda Knoll, 39, and her three children had just moved in across the street.

"She was a very nice person. Loving, caring," O'Neil said.

Little did he know, he would be by her side two days later in a heart-wrenching circumstance.

On Friday morning, Mitch woke up, made coffee, and headed to his porch to smoke.

"I smoked a cigarette and I heard a scream, screaming from across the street. I had to dodge back in the house, ran out to see what was wrong and a little boy said, 'I think my mom is dead.'"

O'Neil said he didn't the suspect. He brought the little boy inside his home and yelled at his wife to call 911.

"My fingers couldn't even work. I couldn't dial the number. So then I took a rag and went back out there, by her side, wiped her face, her nose, so she could breathe a little better. She was breathing, but unconscious. So then I stayed with her until the ambulance and 911 came."

Knoll died two days later in the hospital from blunt force trauma, according to the Chenango County Sheriff's Office. The sheriff's office has since charged Knoll's ex-boyfriend, William Danielson, 48, with second degree murder.

The past few days have been tough on O'Neil. He says the whole event cuts deep.

"I feel that I am redeemed, myself, because I helped her when I didn't help the other lady [...] the woman that I collided with in the house that I broke into back in 1988."

O'Neil said he didn't intend to harm anyone, but the lady he ran into fell and later died.

He served jail time, and every day since has worked to grow.

"I feel like it's come full circle, and that God has me here for a reason, whether it's for good or to help people like that, whether it's just to talk to people, encourage people."

Mitch's wife, who has stood by his side, is very proud of him.

"He put himself out there, he did not even think twice," Michelle O'Neil said. "He just ran, to go and be by her side and I think that constitutes a hero."

Mitch thinks otherwise, that he was just in the right place at the right time, but is proud he stepped up.

"Whatever the consequences are you have to take risk, you just can't leave people alone like that."

His only hope is that his past is not reflected upon his family.