Pennsylvania man pleads guilty to brutal murder of chiropractor

A Pennsylvania man pleaded guilty to the brutal murder of a chiropractor who prosecutors say he blamed for failing to alleviate his jaw pain. 

Joseph O'Boyle was arrested in January 2021, over a month after Dr. James Sowa was found beaten to death inside his Bensalem office. Less than two years later, prosecutors say O'Boyle pleaded guilty to charges of criminal homicide, criminal trespassing, and possession of an instrument of crime.

In a November press conference to announce the arrest of O'Boyle, Bucks County District Attorney Matthew Weintraub said O'Boyle previously visited Dr. Sowa for treatment of jaw pain. After the visit, investigators said O'Boyle became obsessed with Dr. Sowa and blamed the 63-year-old for worsening his jaw pain.

Prosecutors say O'Boyle went to Dr. Sowa's home - which doubled as his office - in Bensalem on Nov. 2 and beat him to death in the head and jaw with a blunt object. Weintraub called the killing "poetic perverse irony" because O'Boyle inflicted deadly injuries to the same area that he sought treatment. 

Joseph O'Boyle, 22, has been charged in the death of Dr. James Sowa.

O'Boyle was spotted on home surveillance arriving at Dr. Sowa's home office and leaving minutes later in a white Nissan Altima. Investigators linked the license plate on that car to a home on Byberry Road. 

When O'Boyle's father confronted him about of Dr. Sowa's death, prosecutors say he became agitated and started rubbing his jaw. O'Boyle later admitted to his father that he killed Dr. Sowa, according to prosecutors. 

When authorities executed a search warrant of O'Boyle's home, he punched a Bensalem detective in the head multiple times and had to be wrestled into custody by several officers. 

He also pleaded guilty to two counts of aggravated assault and counts of recklessly endangering another person, resisting arrest and simple assault.