After using a fatal chokehold to restrain another passenger, a New York subway rider has entered a not-guilty plea to charges of manslaughter and negligent homicide.
After a fight with other passengers on May 1, Jordan Neely, a 30-year-old homeless man, was pronounced dead.
If found guilty, 24-year-old ex-Marine Daniel Penny, who was caught on camera holding Mr. Neely down, could spend up to 15 years behind bars.
On a Manhattan F train heading north, it happened on a Monday afternoon.
Witnesses claimed that Mr. Neely was shouting at other passengers and pleading for cash. He didn't attack any of them, according to the evidence.
Approximately two minutes and 55 seconds of bystander video capture Mr. Penny encircling Mr. Neely's neck.
Additionally, two additional passengers are seen holding Mr. Neely by the arms.
Following a two-minute wait, a fellow passenger alerts Mr. Penny and the other men that Mr. Neely may be dying.
One of the men responds that Mr. Neely's neck is no longer being "squeezed" by Mr. Penny.
Mr. Neely, according to the onlooker, has feces on himself, which may be a sign that he is dying.
He cautions Mr. Penny that if he does not permit Mr. Neely to leave, he might be charged with murder.
After Mr. Penny stands up, a fellow passenger comments, "That was one hell of a chokehold, man. ".
Mr. Penny had instructed other passengers to call emergency services during the altercation, according to police, according to CBS News, the BBC's US partner.
On camera, he can be seen placing Mr. Neely in a recovery position after he becomes limp.
According to Juan Alberto Vazquez, a freelance journalist who recorded the encounter, Mr. Neely had been yelling that he had nothing to eat or drink.
"I don't mind going to jail or receiving a life sentence. He allegedly said, "I'm ready to die.
According to Mr. Vazquez, he doesn't think the man will pass away.
None of us were, he claimed to the New York Times. In addition to moving, he was defending himself. ".
In Times sq\. in New York, Jordan Neely frequently performed as Michael Jackson.
According to US media, he had been detained 42 times before on suspicion of crimes like stealing, evading taxes, and assaulting three women.
In 2021, as she was leaving a subway station, he admitted to assaulting the 67-year-old woman.
His mother, Christie Neely, died in 2007 after being strangled by her boyfriend, who was later given a 30-year prison term in 2012.
Family members claim that Mr. Neely started having mental health issues after the death of his mother.
Jordan is deserving of justice. The BBC was told by his aunt Carolyn Neely that he was cherished.
Mr. Penny has been charged with vigilantism by Dante Mills, an attorney for the Neely family. Mr. Neely never injured any passengers on the day of his death, according to the lawyer.
Demons were in him. He experienced tragedy at a young age, according to Mr. Mills.
Long Island native and former US Marine Daniel Penny served in the military before.
Early in June, Mr. Penny claimed that he had no plans to murder Mr. Neely in a statement posted on social media.
"I was terrified for myself, but I looked around and saw women and kids who were being threatened by the man who was shouting in their faces. I simply couldn't remain still," he admitted.
According to NBC News, he completed high school in 2016 and most recently resided in the Queens neighborhood of New York City.
After serving in the Marine Corps for four years, Mr. Penny advanced to the rank of sergeant and was honorably discharged in June 2021. His attorneys claim that he is an undergraduate architecture student.
He has declared himself innocent of the charges.
For Mr. Penny's legal defense, supporters have raised close to $3 million (£2 point 4 million).
According to the criminal code of New York, charges of second-degree manslaughter are brought when a person "recklessly causes the death of another person.".
In New York, the jury must determine that the defendant engaged in careless behavior that unjustifiably increased the risk of death before choosing to ignore that risk.
Additionally, the defendant's conduct must have been egregiously inconsistent with what a typical person would have done in the same circumstance.
When it is thought that a suspect failed to realize that taking a certain action would put them in grave danger, they may be charged with criminally negligent homicide.
The lowest level of felony charge in New York is a class E felony, which carries a maximum four-year prison sentence.
Alvin Bragg, a Manhattan prosecutor, decided to bring charges instead of deferring the contentious choice to a grand jury, which can decide whether there is sufficient evidence to pursue a prosecution, because he is so confident that he can succeed in getting a conviction.
Since the death of Eric Garner in 2014, a New York City resident who was unarmed and a victim of a police chokehold, there has been a growing understanding of the risks associated with these restraints.
And following the passing of George Floyd in 2020, New York lawmakers toughened the punishments for officers who use chokeholds while making an arrest.
But according to Jeffrey Lichtman, a New York defense lawyer who has previously defended drug lord El Chapo and alleged mobster John Gotti Jr., the prosecution will lose its case against Daniel Penny because it will be difficult to show that the defendant was aware his actions could kill.
Witnesses have stated that they did not anticipate the altercation on the subway floor to result in death. Mr. Penny claims that he was selflessly risking his life to protect fellow passengers.
He claims that Mr. Neely could have given up at any time and put an end to the fight, saying "It's not like he snuck up behind him and hit him over the head with a brick or a bat.".
Every New Yorker, including the potential jury members, has encountered mental illness on the subway.
He asserts that the majority of jurors would prefer an ex-Marine like Mr. Penny intervene to stop someone from becoming violent on the subway.
He refers to Mr. Penny as a "sympathetic defendant" and says that if the case is litigated properly, an acquittal will be a foregone conclusion.