Trial date set for former Marine Daniel Penny over death of violent homeless man

 March 21, 2024

Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg made headlines last week after he convinced a judge to push former President Donald Trump's trial date back by a month.

Yet Trump isn't the only person Bragg is trying to put behind bars, as he is pushing ahead with charges against former Marine Daniel Penny. 

Penny confronted man with a history of violence

Fox News reported on Monday that Penny's manslaughter trial is set to begin on October 8. The veteran is accused of killing Jordan Neely onboard a subway car earlier this year.

Neely is alleged to have begun threatening people onboard the train, something which led Penny to subdue him via use of a chokehold.

The New York Post reported that Neely was arrested on multiple occasions, such as in November of 2021 when he was accused of punching a 67-year-old woman in the face.

The Daily News also pointed to a 2015 incident in which Neely was taken into custody for attempting to drag away a 7-year-old girl.

Neely subsequently pleaded guilty to endangering the welfare of a child and was given a sentence of four months behind in jail.

"We were scared for our lives"

Fox News spoke to one witness who described Penny as a "hero" and recalled being afraid of what Neely might have done.

"I'm looking at where we are in the tube, in the sardine can, and I’m like, ‘OK, we’re in between stations. There’s nowhere we can go," she explained, adding, "The people on that train, we were scared. We were scared for our lives."

Steven Raiser is Penny's lawyer, and he told Fox News that subway riders must "let yourself, or someone else, be a victim, or risk being a defendant in court."

"The reality is, if force against riders is used or threatened and if they choose to defend themselves, there is a likelihood that the assailants might get hurt and the riders defending themselves are the ones being arrested," he added.

Former officer says Penny case is making subway more dangerous

According to Fox News, the announcement of Penny's trial date came the same day that off-duty NYPD officers arrested a man for slashing a subway passenger's face with a box cutter.

Joseph Giacalone is a retired NYPD sergeant who teaches at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, and he says local authorities are emboldening criminals.

"New Yorkers were always trained to mind your own business, but some have gotten involved for moral reasons," Giacalone said.

"But after seeing how cases are handled by the district attorney in Manhattan, specifically, everybody is for themselves at this point, and I don't blame them," he complained.

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