Daniel Penny, a 24-year-old US Marine Corps veteran, assassinated the 30-year-old Michael Jackson lookalike on a northbound F train at the Broadway-Lafayette Street/Bleeker Street station earlier this month (1 May).
According to police, Neely was in a New York subway carriage when adjacent passengers started to observe his odd behaviour, prompting Penny to intervene.
Passengers’ eyewitness testimony claims Neely, who had mental health issues, had been yelling and demanding for money on the tube train but had not really harmed anybody.
Neely and Penny’s interaction quickly got physical. Two other passengers, who have not yet been recognized, assisted in the restraint of Neely.
Penny ended up placing Neely in a chokehold for many minutes, causing him to lose consciousness completely, and it was subsequently decided that his death was murder due to the stress on his neck.
Last Thursday (May 11), prosecutors stated that the ex-marine would be charged with second degree manslaughter, which carries a maximum jail term of 15 years.
Penny, on the other hand, was freed on bail when he ‘gave himself in […] freely and with the type of decency and integrity that is representative of his dignity of service to this grateful country’ the next day (12 May).
Penny’s lawyer came to the conclusion that there is nothing less indicative of flight risk than someone willingly surrendering.
A witness, who identified as a woman of color, has now criticized Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg for pursuing Penny in the first place.
The New Yorker, who has lived in the city for more than 50 years, stated that he’s a hero.
It was self-defense, she said of the event, and she believes in her heart that he saved a lot of individuals that day who could have gotten hurt.
“I’m sitting on a train reading my book when I hear someone spouting this rhetoric.” ‘I don’t care if I have to murder an F, I will,’ he remarked. I’ll go to prison and take a bullet’.
“”I’m looking at where we are in the tube, in the sardine can, and I’m like, ‘OK, we’re in between stations,” the witness stated. We have nowhere to go.”
She went on to explain that the passengers in the carriage were frightened for their lives.
According to the lady, Penny waited until the last possible moment to interfere and only intervened to control Neely after he used the words “kill” and “bullet.”
She continues, that why on earth would one take a bullet? Why? One does not take a bullet since one takes something from someone else’s hand. One takes a bullet for the sake of violence.
Mr. Penny cared about people, the witness said. That’s exactly what he did. That is his offense.
No one wants to kill anyone. One should have seen Mr. Penny’s expression when he said he didn’t want to murder that guy. He was in a state of distress. He was clearly in a state of anguish. And he didn’t show up. He didn’t flee. He remained.
The event generated a racist narrative, which the lady addressed.
This isn’t about race, she said. This story is about individuals of all races who were terrified and a guy who stepped in to assist them.
Race is being used as a wedge to divide people.
Penny’s bail is set at $100,000, and he is due back in court on July 17.
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