Daniel Penny, the 24-year-old marine who put Jordan Neely into a chokehold, was arraigned on Friday, May 12th, and charged with second-degree manslaughter. Penny was released on a $100,000 bail.
Penny’s legal defense fund has grown to over $2 million, with thousands of donors supporting him on the Christian fundraising website GiveSendGo. The website reportedly crashed for over an hour while people flocked to send funds. Jacob Wells, a co-founder of the website, said, “There was a big surge in traffic and our servers were temporarily overwhelmed.”
Some of Penny’s supporters left comments on the website when they donated, calling him a “hero” for taking down “a deranged lunatic.” Another donor said, “He was just trying to help on the subway. It was obviously a scary situation and it all went wrong. But he didn’t go in there trying to hurt anyone. He was trying to help.”
On May 1st while riding the F train, Neely was reportedly harassing riders. In an effort to stop Neely, Penny put him in a chokehold which, subsequently, led to his death with the coroner stating Neely’s cause of death as compression of the neck (chokehold).
Following the death of Neely, Penny has been branded as a murderer. Family and friends have said this is not the case, referring to Penny as a “calm and inclusive” man. The Long Island native joined the Marine Corps straight out of high school, serving for four years with two deployments.
Justine Balwin, Penny’s cousin, said, “It’s disgusting. Here’s a young man who served our country.” She continued, saying Penny was “a handsome, fun kid who could always be counted on when you needed help.”
Penny will appear in court again on July 17th. Lennon Edwards and Donte Mills, attorneys for Neely’s family, spoke at a press conference after Penny’s appearance in court. They said, “The consequences to manslaughter two is five to 15 years. Ask yourself, is that enough? Is that enough for someone who choked somebody out on the train and took their life? Five to 15 years. Murder two, up to 25 to life, so we need a full cup of justice here.” They continued, “Mr. Neely did not attack anyone, he did not touch anyone, he did not hit anyone, but he was choked to death, and that can’t stand.”