NYC Police identify Marine veteran accused in subway chokehold death of Jordan Neely

A New York City subway passenger accused of suffocating a homeless man to death was a 24-year-old U.S. Marine Corps veteran and college student, according to his attorney, who said he “acted to protect himself.” “I had no intention of causing harm,” he said.

Daniel James Penny, 24, has been identified by witnesses and police as the man who suffocated 30-year-old Jordan Neely.

Penny enlisted in the Marine Corps in 2017 according to her LinkedIn profile and is currently in college, according to a statement released by Raiser&Kenniff’s attorneys.

A New York police officer administers CPR to a man at the scene of a reported fight on the New York subway on Monday, May 1, 2023. (Paul Martika via AP)

According to eyewitnesses and police, Neely reportedly had a psychiatric episode on the subway route, and Penny intervened, thrusting him to the ground and suffocating him.

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“Mr. Neely has been documented for violent and deviant behavior, which is a clear consequence of his ongoing and untreated mental illness. When it started, Daniel enlisted the help of others and acted to protect himself “until help arrived,” the attorney said. “Daniel never intended to harm Mr. Neely, nor could he have foreseen his untimely death.”

Jordan Neely

New York police officers respond to a reported brawl on the New York subway on Monday, May 1, 2023. A man suffering from an apparent mental health episode while riding a New York City subway died Monday after being placed in a headlock by his fellow passengers, according to video of the encounter with police officials. (Paul Martika via AP)

Manhattan prosecutors are investigating Neely’s death after the city’s coroner determined the Michael Jackson impersonator, who was experiencing homelessness, died from neck compression.

Juan Alberto Vázquez, a freelance journalist who shot a viral video of the incident, told the New York Post that Neely “started screaming aggressively” and complained that he had no food or drink. supposedly held by soldiers Neely in Chokehold According to Vasquez, 15 minutes.

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His death was ruled a homicide by the city’s coroner, and police have not arrested anyone in connection with the crime.

“As part of a rigorous ongoing investigation, we will review the coroner’s report, evaluate all available video and photographic footage, identify and interview as many witnesses as possible, and collect additional medical records. This investigation will be handled by a senior and experienced prosecutor.,” a spokesperson for Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg said in a statement.

Two Michael Jackson impersonators on the street at night

Jordan Neely (left) and Moses Harper impersonating Michael Jackson in front of the Regal Cinemas in Times Square showing Michael Jackson’s movie “This is IT” on Tuesday, October 27, 2009. Neely was killed on Monday, May 1, 2023. On a New York City subway after reportedly having him strangled by his fellow passenger. (Andrew Savulich/NY Daily News Archive via Getty Images)

The case has sparked protests across the city demanding justice for Neely’s murder, and state and local politicians are calling for renewed urgency to address the mental health crisis.

“For too long, people suffering from mental illness have been treated with indifference. This horrific tragedy has led elected officials to a new promise to address mental health crises on the streets and subways. We look forward to serving you,” Penny’s attorney said in a statement Friday.


The Manhattan DA office is asking anyone who witnessed the fatal encounter or has information about it to call 212-335-9040.

Fox News’ Rebecca Rosenberg contributed to this report.

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