The man accused in the killing of Jordan Neely on the subway has pleaded not guilty in connection with the chokehold death.
Daniel Penny, 24, pleaded not guilty Wednesday to one count of second-degree manslaughter and one count of criminally negligent homicide in the May 1 death of Neely, a former Michael Jackson impersonator who was shouting and begging for money when Penny pinned him to the floor of a moving subway car with the help of two other passengers and held him in a chokehold for more than three minutes.
Neely, 30, lost consciousness during the struggle and was pronounced dead at a hospital.
What You Need To Know
- Daniel Penny, 24, pleaded not guilty Wednesday to one count of second-degree manslaughter and one count of criminally negligent homicide in the death of Jordan Neely
- Penny put Neely, 30, in a fatal chokehold on the floor of a moving subway car on May 1. He has said he acted to protect himself and others from Neely, who shouted “I’m gonna kill you” and said he was “ready to die” or go to jail for life
- Neely’s family members and their supporters have said Neely, who struggled with mental illness and homelessness, was crying out for help and was met with violence
A grand jury voted to indict Penny on updated charges earlier this month. Wednesday’s arraignment on the charges lasted mere minutes. Penny, who is free on bond, only uttered the words “not guilty” before he left the courtroom with his lawyers.
“Daniel Penny stands indicted for manslaughter after allegedly putting Jordan Neely in a deadly chokehold for several minutes until and after he stopped moving," Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg said in a statement. "I hope Mr. Neely’s loved ones are on the path towards healing as they continue to mourn this tragic loss."
Penny, who served in the Marines for four years and was discharged in 2021, has said he acted to protect himself and others from Neely, who shouted “I’m gonna kill you” and said he was “ready to die” or go to jail for life.
“He was yelling in their faces saying these threats,” Penny said in a video released by his attorneys. “I just couldn’t sit still.”
Neely’s family members and their supporters have said Neely, who struggled with mental illness and homelessness, was crying out for help and was met with violence.
“What happened to Jordan was a crime and this family shouldn’t have to stand by themselves,” the Rev. Al Sharpton said at Neely’s May 19 funeral.
Outside the courthouse Wednesday, Penny’s lawyers said the case centered around the right to defend oneself.
“Today, Daniel Penny entered a plea of not guilty with great confidence that a jury of his peers will ultimately agree by rendering a verdict of not guilty on all counts at the trial,” one of Penny’s lawyers, Steve Raiser, said. “But Danny won’t be the only one on trial. The right and duty to defend one another will be on trial too.”
Neely’s family’s attorneys, meanwhile, said they believed Penny would be found guilty.
“Daniel Penny killed a man. He took a life. And for everyone who thought donating $3 million would somehow make this go away, or buy his pass, it’s not going to happen. It didn’t work. You got to ask for a refund,” attorney Donte Mills said, referring to the scores of people who donated to Penny’s defense fund.
“We’re here. Help is here. So from now on, when justice happens, don’t be surprised and don’t be shocked,” he added.
Penny is expected to appear in court again on Oct. 25.