Judge Denies Penny’s Motion To Dismiss In Subway Death Case

A Manhattan judge has denied Daniel Penny’s request to dismiss involuntary manslaughter charges that were brought against him after killing Jordan Neely with a chokehold in a NYC subway last May.

Penny, an ex-Marine, was charged in the death of Neely, a mentally ill homeless man. According to Penny and other passengers, Neely had been threatening passengers on the train. Penny was 24 years old and sprang into action to help other passengers when Neely fell unconscious.

Officials announced Neely deceased at the scene, and his death was later ruled a homicide by the medical examiner, stating the cause of death was from a chokehold.

“While we disagree with the Court’s decision not to dismiss the indictment, we understand that the legal threshold to continue even an ill-conceived prosecution is very low,” Penny’s attorney, Thomas Kenniff, said in a statement.

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

The death of Neely sparked a national debate, with Penny’s supporters applauding his bravery and saying he shouldn’t be punished for protecting the other passengers on the train. Others condemned the killing, calling it a ruthless attack on a mentally ill black man.

In October, Penny’s lawyers asked the judge to throw out the case, questioning the findings from the medical examiner’s office, shining light on the fact that, at the time, Neely had synthetic drugs present in his system.

“This was a win today, a big win, and I think it’s important to note that a grand jury said that Daniel Penny should face charges for killing Jordan Neely. His attorneys tried to overrule that to say that what the grand jury said didn’t matter, but the judge didn’t do that, and we will be back here in March,” an attorney for the Neely family said.

“Penny will face charges, and we expect that Daniel Penny will be found guilty for the killing of Jordan,” he added.

Years before his death, Neely’s mental health became worse while his aggression increased. According to the NYPD, there was a warrant out for his arrest for punching an elderly woman on the subway. Additionally, he was also accused of pushing a woman onto the tracks.

One witness, who described herself as a woman of color, previously said in a statement that Neely boarded the subway train ranting, “I don’t care if I have to kill an F, I will. I’ll go to jail, I’ll take a bullet.”

“It was self-defense, and I believe in my heart that Daniel saved a lot of people that day,” the woman said.

On Wednesday, Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Maxwell Wiley denied Penny’s request to dismiss, ruling the medical examiner’s findings as sufficient. Presently, the judge has not set a trial date, but it is expected to take place before the fall.