Daniel Penny turned himself in to New York City police on Friday to face criminal charges in the suffocation death of Jordan Neely on a subway train.
Penny was spotted walking to the New York City Police Department’s 5th Precinct in Chinatown just after 8 a.m. ET. He did not speak to reporters outside, though his lawyer, Tom Keniff, spoke briefly to reporters.
“He volunteered himself here with the dignity and integrity that characterize the dignity of service to this grateful nation,” Keniff said. “The case will now go to court and we expect a hearing this afternoon. The process will unfold from there.”
Penny’s surrender came a day after the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office confirmed he would be arrested on second-degree manslaughter charges.
Neely died of asphyxiation on May 1. The video shows Benny, a U.S. Marine, holding Neely in a choke hold after Neely explodes from an F train.
Penney’s attorneys said in a statement Thursday night that they hope “once all the facts and circumstances surrounding this tragic incident are brought to light, Mr. Penney will be fully exonerated of any wrongdoing.”
“Mr. Penney, a decorated Navy veteran, stepped in to protect himself and his fellow New Yorkers when his well-being was not assured. He risked his own life and safety for the sake of his fellow passengers,” the statement said. From the law firm of Riser and Keniff. “Mr Neely’s sudden and unexpected death is an unfortunate consequence.”
Neely was homeless when she died. Some witnesses told police that Neely was yelling and harassing passengers on the train, officials said.
Police sources told ABC News that Benny wasn’t specifically threatened by Neely when he intervened, and that Neely wasn’t violent and didn’t threaten anyone in particular.
In an earlier statement, Penny’s attorneys “expressed their condolences to those close to Mr. Neely” and said that “Mr. Neely began aggressively threatening Daniel” and that the Marine and others “acted in self-defense.”
“Mr. Neely had a documented history of violence and disorderly behavior, an apparent result of an ongoing and untreated mental illness,” a statement from the law firm Riser and Keniff said. “When Mr. Neely began aggressively threatening Daniel Benny and the other passengers, Daniel, with the help of others, acted to protect themselves until help arrived. Daniel did not intend to harm Mr. Neely and could not have foreseen his untimely death.”
Footage of the incident shows Penny holding Neely in a chokehold for nearly 3 minutes as another man grabs Neely’s body.
Neely family attorneys criticized Penny’s response.
“The truth is that he knew nothing about Jordan’s history when he deliberately wrapped his arms around Jordan’s neck and continued to squeeze and squeeze,” Neely family attorneys said in a statement.
“Daniel Penny’s press release was not an apology or an expression of remorse. It was a character assassination, and a clear example of why he believed he deserved to take Jordan’s life,” the statement from attorneys Donte Mills and Lennon Edwards continued.
Neely’s death following asphyxiation has been ruled a homicide by the city’s medical examiner’s office.
Penny, 24, was questioned by detectives and released, police said. He told the police that he did not try to kill Neely.
Neely had a documented mental health history, according to police sources. Neely has previously been arrested for several incidents on the subway, though it’s unclear how many, if any, led to convictions.
The Manhattan DA’s office spent the weekend and much of this week interviewing and examining accounts of witnesses on the train and reviewing several videos of the incident. Prosecutors consulted with the medical examiner’s office and detectives, and reviewed statements Penny made to detectives the night of the incident.
The district attorney’s office initially decided to move forward with charges without going to a grand jury.
A grand jury will hear more evidence in the case, which will happen in the week after his arrest.
The maximum sentence for second degree manslaughter is 15 years.
ABC News’ Morgan Winsor contributed to this report.
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