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Man gets 22 years for biting, swallowing lip in fight

A South Boston man was sentenced Wednesday to more than 22 years in prison for a 2012 fight outside a bar in which he bit off a man’s lip and swallowed it, Suffolk County prosecutors said.

Robert O’Connor, 46, was playing pool at the Croke Park bar in South Boston when he picked a fight with a man and called him a racial slur. O’Connor pushed a bar employee and pulled out a knife. He and the man were removed from the bar, Suffolk District Attorney Daniel F. Conley’s said in a statement.

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Once outside, O’Connor again called the victim a racial slur and then the two crossed the street to fight, Conley’s office said.

During the fight, O’Connor grabbed the victim’s head, leaned in, bit, and ripped off a portion of his lip, prosecutors said.

Boston police responded to the scene and arrested O’Connor. Neither the knife allegedly pulled out in the bar, nor the lip were recovered. But prosecutors said evidence showed O’Connor had swallowed the lip, prosecutors said.

O’Connor was convicted in March of mayhem, a civil rights violation with injuries, and two counts of assault and battery in connection with the Aug. 5, 2012, bar fight.

On Wednesday, Judge Patrick Brady sentenced O’Connor to serve 20 years in prison on the mayhem charge, and concurrent sentences of 10 years for violating the victim’s civil rights, and 2½ years for assault and battery. Brady imposed an additional consecutive term of 2½ years for assault and battery on a second victim.

Prosecutors indicted O’Connor as a habitual offender because he had been convicted in 2007 for breaking and entering and larceny; convicted that same year of assault and battery with a dangerous weapon on a fellow inmate at the Massachusetts Correctional Institution at Cedar Junction; and convicted in 1986 on a firearm charge.

Jacqueline Tempera can be reached at jacqueline.tempera@globe.com. Follow her on twitter @jacktemp
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