The 24-year-old former Marine who held a 30-year-old homeless man in a chokehold in a subway car May 1 is now facing second degree manslaughter charges.
Daniel Penny from West Islip was seen on cell phone video posted online by a freelance journalist holding Jordan Neely in a chokehold on a subway train as two other passengers helped hold him down.
During the incident Neely had allegedly suffered a mental episode by Neely. He was taken to a hospital where he was pronounced dead soon after the incident.
Days later the Michael Jackson impersonator and subway performer’s death was ruled a homicide by compression to the neck by the medical examiner.
“Neely should still be alive today and my thoughts continue to be with his family and loved ones as they mourn his loss during this extremely painful time,” Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg said in a statement, according to news reports.
“I appreciate DA Bragg conducting a thorough investigation into the death of Jordan Neely. I have the utmost faith in the judicial process, and now justice can move forward against Daniel Penny,” Mayor Eric Adams said in a statement Friday, May 12, according to news reports.
Penny was arraigned at the New York Criminal Court on May 12, for “recklessly causing a death.” If convicted, Penny could face up to 15 years in prison. Penny did not enter a plea.
The judge set the bond at $100,000 and it was posted by Penny. He has been ordered to surrender his passport and not leave the state of New York.
The law firm representing Penny — Raiser and Kennif, PC. — could not be reached for comment. But they released a statement saying Penny did not intend to harm Neely and did not foresee his “untimely death.”
A legal defense fund posted on the Christian fundraising site GiveSendGo by Penny’s attorneys has reached over $2.2 million from 46,000 donors so far. The same site has been used for donating money to Jan. 6, 2022 U.S. Capitol insurrectionists.
In comparison, a GoFundMe by Neely’s aunt has only received $131,485 from 4,000 donors.
Tragically, Neely’s mother, Christie was strangled to death by her boyfriend and left in a suitcase on the Henry Hudson Parkway in 2007 in Riverdale.
Attorneys for the Neely family, Lennon Edwards and Donte Mills, spoke to reporters at a press conference following Penny’s arrest.
Edwards talked about how they were overjoyed that Penny was arrested. However, he does not believe the manslaughter charges are enough.
“The consequences of manslaughter two is five to 15 years. Ask yourself, is that enough? Is that enough for someone who chokes somebody out on the train and took their life?
Five to 15 years, murder two up to 25 to life, so we need a full cup of justice,” Edwards said.
Penny’s next court date is July 17, 2023.