Family attorneys say justice for Jordan Neely’s death would be a murder conviction against Daniel Penny

At a news conference on Friday, attorneys for Jordan Neely’s family, Lennon Edwards and Donte Mills, said that justice would be a conviction for murder, not manslaughter. Earlier in the day, Daniel Penny surrendered to authorities to face manslaughter charges for Neely’s death. On May 1, Neely was killed after a subway encounter in which Penny placed him in a chokehold.

Video transcript

- Are you saying that-- what would justice look like to you? Or are you saying murder?

LENNON EDWARDS: Justice looks like a conviction, and justice looks like a conviction for murder. When you are someone who is trained, we've heard about how Daniel Penny was trained. He was a decorated, they say, Marine. If you're decorated, to me, that means that you've gone through more training and more situations than someone who's a newbie in the process of military.

Now, when you're trained in combat, that gives you something that the average person does not have. It gives you options. It gives you the option of bear hugging, of striking, of many other things, but Daniel Penny chose, intentionally chose a technique to use that is designed to cut off air. That's what he chose, and he chose to continue to hold that choke hold minute after minute, second after second, until there was no life left in Jordan Neely.

That's the choice that he made, and he did it intentionally. So we believe that the conviction should be for murder, because that's intentional. Here's the thing. What did he think would happen? What did he think would happen when he choked him and held on for almost 15 minutes?

So if you look at this and say, it wasn't intentional, did Daniel Penny get up that morning saying, I'm going to go murder somebody? I don't believe he did. But in that moment, even if he was afraid to begin with, at some point, when people are screaming, "let him go, you're going to kill him," at some point, when people are saying, "he defecated on himself," which is a sign, he's losing his light. At some point, when somebody screams, "my wife is a nurse," I'm telling you, you're going to kill him. You're going to get a murder charge.

He could have chose to let him go, but he didn't. And what did he think would happen if he didn't? He had to know he would die. He had to.