(NEW YORK) — The case against the Marine veteran charged in the chokehold death of a homeless man aboard a New York City subway train is now before a grand jury, sources familiar with the matter told ABC News.
Prosecutors are currently trying to secure an indictment after Daniel Penny, 24, was charged with second-degree manslaughter last month in the death of Jordan Neely, 30.
Penny’s lawyers have said the veteran is prepared to testify before the grand jury but no decision had been made.
It is unusual for criminal defendants to testify at the grand jury but, in this case, his lawyers have been considering whether Penny could head off an indictment by explaining his actions.
“Any speculation regarding a client’s intent to testify at this stage would be premature,” Steven Raiser, part of Penny’s legal team, said on May 26.
The Manhattan District Attorney’s office declined to comment.
Video showed Penny putting Neely in a chokehold on May 1 for several minutes following reported outbursts from Neely on an F train.
Some witnesses reportedly told police that Neely, who had a documented mental health history, was yelling and harassing passengers on the train, authorities said. Police sources told ABC News that Penny was not specifically being threatened by Neely when he intervened and that Neely had not become violent and had not been threatening anyone in particular.
Neely’s death was ruled a homicide.
Following Penny’s arrest, assistant district attorney Joshua Steinglass said prosecutors conducted a “thorough investigation” that included interviews with eyewitnesses, 911 callers and responding officers before moving forward with the criminal charge.
Attorneys for Penny have said they fully expect him to be exonerated of all charges.
The maximum penalty for second-degree manslaughter is 15 years in prison.
This is a developing story. Please check back for updates.
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