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Daniel Penny manslaughter trial date set over subway chokehold death

The ex-Marine will stand trial in October over Jordan Neely’s death

Dan Gooding
Wednesday 20 March 2024 18:12 GMT
Daniel Penny trial date set in NYC subway chokehold death

The ex-Marine accused of killing a man with a chokehold on the New York City Subway last May will stand trial in October.

Daniel Penny has pleaded not guilty to the charges of second-degree manslaughter and criminally negligent homicide, following Jordan Neely’s death on a train in Manhattan on 1 May 2023.

The 25-year-old veteran will now stand trial starting 8 October, Judge Max Wiley declared during a brief hearing on Wednesday.

Mr Penny was identified as the main suspect after phone camera footage showed him pinning Neely, 30, to the train carriage floor and placing him in a chokehold.

A filing from the Manhattan district attorney’s office argued that Mr Penny – who served in the US Marines for four years – received training and instructional materials that highlighted the deadly potential of chokeholds, but held Neely for around six minutes anyway.

Following Neely’s death, witnesses said he was experiencing a mental health crisis in the days leading up to 1 May. When he boarded the train, he was complaining of hunger and thirst and was homeless.

Others claimed that he told passengers that he was not afraid to die or go to jail, before throwing his jacket on the ground. It was at that point Mr Penny wrestled him to the ground.

Passengers were able to get off the train at the Broadway-Lafayette stop, with footage showing Mr Penny holding Neely for several minutes afterwards, with two other men standing nearby.

Following Neely’s death, a polarising debate began about the city’s public health failures, citizen vigilantism and racial bias. Civil rights activist Reverand Al Sharpton said at the victim’s funeral that he had been let down by the system.

“Jordan was screaming for help. We keep criminalising people with mental illness,” Rev Sharpton said at the service in Harlem. “They don’t need abuse, they need help.”

The case has come back into the foreground at a time when crime on NYC’s subway is making headlines again, with multiple incidents reported in recent weeks, including the shooting of a man with his own gun at a station in Brooklyn.

New York Governor Kathy Hochul has sent the National Guard onto the system as part of efforts to crack down on crime and make riders feel safer.

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