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NYC judge rejects Daniel Penny’s motion to dismiss Jordan Neely case

Metro


A Manhattan judge on Wednesday rejected former Marine Daniel Penny’s motion to dismiss the charges against him in the subway chokehold death of Jordan Neely — in what an attorney for the slain homeless man’s family called a “big win.”

Judge Maxwell Wiley batted down Penny’s attorneys’ October motion to can the manslaughter case because of alleged issues with prosecutors’ instructions to the grand jury and claims that the medical examiner didn’t establish that Penny’s actions killed Neely.  

But Wiley  ruled that the ME’s testimony and Neely’s death certificate —  which said the former Michael Jackson impersonator died from “compression of the neck (chokehold) — was more than enough to “establish that defendant’s actions caused the death of Neely.”

He also wrote that the court reviewed the grand jury presentation and found it had been properly done.

Daniel Penny’s petition to dismiss the charges stemming from his May 2023 killing of homeless man Jordan Neely was denied. Steven Hirsch
Penny choked Jordan Neely to death on the subway in May 2023. Provided by Carolyn Neely

Penny, a former infantry squad leader who was indicted on charges of second-degree manslaughter and criminally negligent homicide the caught-on-camera, lightning-rod May 2023 killing, was hurried into a waiting black Lexus SUV after the hearing — as sign wielding protesters tried to swarm him outside Manhattan Criminal Court.

“We’re gonna’ get your ass, cracker!” one man screamed through a megaphone as he bounded around the car. “Daniel Penny is a murderer! He’s a murderer! You a murderer!

“There’s a murderer in this car! He choked out a New Yorker!” the man continued, as the NYPD tried to clear him away and let the SUV through.

Penny faces 19 years in jail if convicted.
Daniel Penny and his legal team walk inside Manhattan Criminal Court on Wednesday morning. Steven Hirsch
Sign-wielding protesters tried to swarm Penny outside Manhattan Criminal Court. Steven Hirsch

Penny’s attorney, Thomas Kenniff, said that although the defense team disagrees with the court’s decision to allow the case to move forward, they “understand that the legal threshold to continue even an ill-conceived prosecution is very low.”

“We are confident that a jury, aware of Danny’s actions in putting aside his own safety to protect the lives of his fellow riders, will deliver a just verdict,” Kenniff said in a statement. “Danny is grateful for the continued prayers and support through this difficult process,” Kenniff said in an emailed statement.

Meanwhile, Donte Mills, the Neely family’s attorney, called Wiley’s ruling a “big win” while speaking to reporters after court.

A protester with a megaphone shouts towards Daniel Penny as he left court. Steven Hirsch
Daniel Penny left court in an awaiting black SUV. Steven Hirsch
Protestors continued to shout as they followed Daniel Penny’s car as he left court. Steven Hirsch

“I think it’s important to know that the grand jury said Daniel Penny should face charges for killing Jordan Neely,” Mills said.

“His attorneys tried to get the judge to overrule that, to say what the grand jury said didn’t matter,” he continued. “But the judge didn’t do that. The judge said Daniel Penny will face these charges.

“We’re coming back here in March, and our expectation is that Daniel Penny is going to be found guilty for killing Mr. Jordan.”

Penny is free on $100,000 bail, but he faces up to 19 years behind bars if convicted of killing Neely, a homeless man who launched into an explosive tirade on a Manhattan F train on May 1, 2022.

Neely — who had a long history of mental illness — had been threatening subway riders on the train that day before Penny stepped behind him and sunk the chokehold that the city’s medical examiner says eventually killed Neely.

Penny has said he didn’t intend to do that, but felt he had to step in and protect other straphangers because Neely was throwing trash and screaming that he was willing to “kill a motherf—er” and “take a bullet” and go to jail.

“The rhetoric from Mr. Neely was very frightening, it was very harsh,” a witness previously told The Post.

Legal experts agreed with Wiley’s decision to let the case progress.

“I think based on the case law and the evidence presented to the grand jury, it seems clear that the judge found — and is probably accurate in finding — that that’s not a basis to dismiss,” defense attorney and former Brooklyn prosecutor Julie Rendelman told The Post.

“At the end of the day, it’s going to be for the jury to decide whether or not …. they’re able to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the chokehold was the cause of death,” she added.

The next hearing is scheduled for March 20.

A trial will likely be held in the fall. 





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