On Wednesday, the motion to dismiss the charges against former Marine Daniel Penny in the subway chokehold death of Jordan Neely was rejected by Manhattan Judge Maxwell Wiley.
This decision, deemed a “big win” by an attorney representing the family of the deceased homeless man, came after Penny’s attorneys claimed issues with prosecutors’ instructions to the grand jury and disputed the medical examiner’s failure to establish a direct link between Penny’s actions and Neely’s death.
Judge Wiley refuted Penny’s motion, asserting that the medical examiner’s testimony and Neely’s death certificate, citing “compression of the neck (chokehold)” as the cause of death, were sufficient to establish a connection between Penny’s actions and Neely’s demise. Additionally, the judge reviewed the grand jury presentation and affirmed its proper execution.
Former infantry squad leader Daniel Penny, indicted on charges of second-degree manslaughter and criminally negligent homicide in the May 2023 subway chokehold killing of Jordan Neely, was swiftly ushered into a waiting black Lexus SUV after the hearing. Outside Manhattan Criminal Court, protesters wielding signs attempted to surround him.
As the NYPD worked to clear a path for the SUV, a man with a megaphone shouted, “We’re gonna get your ass, cracker!” and continued accusing Penny of being a murderer who choked out a New Yorker. The chaotic scene unfolded as the vehicle tried to navigate through the crowd.
In response to the court’s decision to allow the case to proceed, Penny’s attorney, Thomas Kenniff, expressed disagreement, stating that they understand the legal threshold for continuing even a poorly conceived prosecution is low. Kenniff remains confident that a jury, informed of Penny’s actions in prioritizing the safety of fellow riders, will deliver a just verdict. Penny appreciates the ongoing prayers and support throughout this challenging process, according to Kenniff.
On the other hand, Donte Mills, the Neely family’s attorney, referred to Judge Wiley’s ruling as a “big win” while addressing reporters after the court session.
“I believe it’s important to note that charges for killing Jordan Neely were recommended by the grand jury against Daniel Penny,” Mills stated.
“His attorneys attempted to have the judge overrule that decision, questioning the significance of the grand jury’s determination. However, the judge did not comply and affirmed that Daniel Penny will indeed face these charges.
“We are returning in March, and our anticipation is that Daniel Penny will be found guilty of killing Mr. Jordan.”
Penny, currently out on $100,000 bail, could potentially face up to 19 years in prison if convicted of the killing of Neely, a homeless man who engaged in an explosive incident on a Manhattan F train on May 1, 2022.
On that day, Neely, who had a long history of mental illness, had been issuing threats to subway riders before Penny approached from behind and applied the chokehold, which, according to the city’s medical examiner, eventually led to Neely’s death.
While Penny claimed he did not intend to cause harm, he believed it was necessary to intervene and protect fellow commuters. Neely’s disruptive behavior included throwing trash and making aggressive statements such as being willing to “kill a motherf—er,” “take a bullet,” and go to jail.
A witness had previously stated, “The rhetoric from Mr. Neely was very frightening, it was very harsh.”
Legal experts aligned with Wiley’s decision to allow the case to proceed.