NY Grand Jury Indicts Veteran in Choking Death of Mentally Ill Passenger Threatening to Kill Everyone on Train

File photo: Steve Sanchez Photos, Shutter Stock, licensed.
NYC Mayor Eric Adams and other elected officials announce their plan to make NYC Subway safe again. New York City, NY USA February 19, 2022. File photo: Steve Sanchez Photos, Shutter Stock, licensed.

NEW YORK, NY – U.S. Marine veteran Daniel Penny was indicted by a grand jury in Manhattan on Wednesday in connection with a May 1 incident where he had placed Jordan Neely – a mentally ill homeless man with a violent past – in a fatal chokehold on a New York City subway after he had been allegedly threatening other passengers. 

The exact charges against Penny are currently unclear, and will be revealed when the charges are unsealed at an arraignment that will take place in the near future, reports say. 

New York City Mayor Eric Adams said in a statement that he supported the extensive investigation that Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg – a prosecutor with a reputation for being “soft on crime” – had conducted before deciding to bring charges against Penny. 

“I appreciate D.A. Bragg conducting a thorough investigation into the death of Jordan Neely,” Adams said. “Like I said when the DA first brought charges, I have the utmost faith in the judicial process, and now that the Grand Jury has indicted Daniel Penny, a trial and justice can move forward.” 

Attorneys representing Penny had said they “fully expect that Danny will be exonerated of all charges.” 

Penny, 24, had surrendered to police on second degree manslaughter charges last month; at the time his of his initial arrest and initial arraignment, he did not enter a plea and is currently free on $100,000 bail. If Bragg sticks with the initial manslaughter charge – as opposed to prosecuting him on different charges, such as murder – Penny faces up to 15 years in prison if convicted. 

Penny had been a passenger on a northbound F train when Neely entered the car he was in and allegedly started threatening his fellow passengers. Penny’s attorney, Thomas Kenniff, said that his client placed Neely into a chokehold in order to protect himself and the other passengers.  

“The man stumbled on, he appeared to be on drugs, the doors closed, and he ripped his jacket off and threw it down at the people sitting next to me at my left,” Penny said. “I was listening to music at the time, and I took my headphones out to hear what he was yelling. The three main threats that he repeated over and over again were, ‘I’m going to kill you,’ ‘I’m prepared to go to jail for life,’ and, ‘I’m willing to die.’” 


Bystander footage shows Penny keeping Neely in the chokehold until he lost consciousness; Neely eventually died while in the hold, with the NYC medical examiner ruling the incident a homicide caused by compression of the neck. 

Neely had an extensive criminal history with over 30 arrests to his name, including multiple incidents of assaulting individuals. 

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