New York judge sets trial date for Daniel Penny in subway chokehold death

NEW YORK – A Manhattan judge has scheduled an Oct. 8 trial for Daniel Penny, the Marine Corps veteran and college student charged with manslaughter in the chokehold death of Jordan Neely, who stormed onto a subway train and threatened passengers in May.

The trial is expected to take four to six weeks, attorneys said in court Wednesday. Penny’s next hearing in the case is set for Sept. 17.

Penny, 24, allegedly told police an “irate” Neely “was threatening everybody” and ranting about going to prison, according to court documents. He placed the “erratic” passenger in a chokehold, and another man helped restrain him until the subway car reached the next station, video of the incident shows.

‘LAWLESSNESS’ CONTINUES TO PLAGUE NYC TRAINS AS DA BRAGG PUSHES MANSLAUGHTER CASE AGAINST DANIEL PENNY

Daniel Penny, center, departs a Manhattan courthouse in New York on Wednesday, March 20, 2024. Penny, a Marine veteran, will stand trial in October for his involvement in the chokehold death of Jordan Neely on the city’s subway last year. (John M. Mantel for Fox News Digital )

One witness called Penny a “hero” and said she was afraid of what Neely might do.

“I’m looking at where we are in the tube, in the sardine can, and I’m like, ‘OK, we’re in between stations. There’s nowhere we can go,’” she told Fox News Digital days after the incident. “The people on that train, we were scared. We were scared for our lives.”

Another witness, who recorded the widely-circulated video of the incident, told the New York Post he did not think Neely was in danger as Penny and another man held him down.

Screenshot from bystander video showing Jordan Neely being held in a chokehold on the New York City subway. (Luces de Nueva York/Juan Alberto Vazquez via Storyful)

Neely had a documented history of mental illness and a criminal record, which included prior subway assaults.

Penny cooperated with police and was initially released, but he turned himself in 11 days later when District Attorney Alvin Bragg’s office charged him with manslaughter.

US MARINE VET DANIEL PENNY PLEADS NOT GUILTY TO MANSLAUGHTER IN CHOKEHOLD DEATH OF JORDAN NEELY

Penny and his defense team left the courthouse shortly after the 10 a.m. hearing Wednesday and did not speak with reporters.

“The reality is, if force against riders is used or threatened and if they choose to defend themselves, there is a likelihood that the assailants might get hurt and the riders defending themselves are the ones being arrested,” Steven Raiser, one of his lawyers, told Fox News Digital before the hearing. “That is a ‘Catch-22,’ let yourself, or someone else, be a victim, or risk being a defendant in court.”

DANIEL PENNY: MARINE VET ACCUSED OF FATAL SUBWAY CHOKEHOLD REVEALS WHY HE STEPPED IN

Jordan Neely, left, and Moses Harper doing their Michael Jackson impersonations in front of Regal Cinemas in Times Square, where the Michael Jackson movie “This is IT” was screening, Tuesday, Oct. 27, 2009. Neely was killed on Monday, May 1, 2023, on a New York City subway after reportedly being placed in a chokehold by a fellow passenger. (Andrew Savulich/NY Daily News Archive via Getty Images)

Lennon Edwards, the attorney for Neely’s family, said outside the courthouse that the slain man was unarmed at the time of the incident.

“He was emotional, but distressed does not mean dangerous,” he told reporters, later adding, “Whenever we see people with a problem as a problem, that mentality is part of the problem.”

SUBWAY BRAWL SEES MAN SHOT IN HEAD WITH OWN GUN; PASSENGERS RUN FOR COVER

Members of the NYPD and National Guard conduct randomized bag searches in New York City’s subway system on Monday, March 11, 2024. Governor Kathy Hochul announced a five-point plan earlier this month, deploying 750 members of the National Guard to combat a near 20% rise in crime levels throughout the subways. (Matthew McDermott for Fox News Digital)

Edwards welcomed the trial date and appeared to predict a conviction.

“Daniel Penny was judge, jury and executioner,” he said. “We’re expecting on that day, when the trial starts, he will be facing a judge, a jury and a sentence.”

Penny faces a maximum of 15 years in prison if convicted on the second-degree manslaughter charge.

Transit crime has continued to plague New York City following Neely’s death. New York Gov. Kathy Hochul sent the National Guard and state troopers to assist with random bag checks.

Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg arrives to the courtroom during the Trump Organization tax fraud trial at the New York Supreme Court on Dec. 6, 2022 in New York City. (Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images)

Last week, a man died on a Brooklyn subway car after he threatened another passenger with a gun and a knife, according to authorities. The victim took his gun and shot him with it.

Prosecutors there did not seek charges against the surviving passenger.

Michael Ruiz is a reporter for Fox News Digital. Story tips can be sent to [email protected] and on Twitter: @mikerreports

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