In a significant development, prosecutors have obtained additional cell phone video footage that strengthens their case against former Marine Daniel Penny in the death of Jordan Neely. The widely-shared video that captured Penny with Neely in a submissionwas just the beginning.
According to the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office, four other videos have been obtained, all of which will serve as evidence in the case. The tragic incident, in which Neely lost his life, garnered national attention and sparked widespread protests after the medical examiner ruled his death a homicide.
Initially charged with second-degree manslaughter, Penny’s charges were upheld by a grand jury, which also added a charge of criminally negligent homicide. As Penny appeared in court, accompanied by his attorneys, he maintained his intention to plead not guilty.
The circumstances surrounding Neely’s behavior and mental state at the time of the incident were revealed through police interviews and testimonies from witnesses on the train. Neely, who was homeless, suffered from mental illness and was expressing erratic behavior.
He had threatened to kill a stranger in order to be sent to jail, where he believed he would receive food and water. His family shared that his mental health had deteriorated significantly following the tragic murder of his mother during his teenage years.
Following the arraignment, Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg released a statement expressing the charges against Penny. Bragg stated that Penny was indicted for manslaughter after allegedly placing Neely in a deadly submission that lasted several minutes, even after Neely had ceased to move. He expressed hope that Neely’s loved ones would find healing as they continued to mourn their tragic loss.
If convicted, Penny could face a maximum sentence of up to 19 years in prison. His defense team, consisting of Steve Raiser and Thomas Keniff, expressed confidence in their client’s innocence, expecting a jury of his peers to render a verdict of not guilty on all counts.
The defense team emphasized that the trial would not only scrutinize Penny’s actions but also examine the right and duty of individuals to protect one another when faced with grave harm. They acknowledged the overwhelming support received from tens of thousands of people who have offered monetary assistance, words of encouragement, and prayers for Penny’s defense.
Penny’s next court appearance is scheduled for October 25. In interviews following the incident, Penny recounted how Neely had posed a threat to other passengers on the train, highlighting his intent to protect them rather than cause harm. Prior to the grand jury proceedings, Penny had already faced charges of second-degree manslaughter, a felony crime that could lead to a maximum prison sentence of 15 years.