NAACP Urges Freedom For Black Man Who Killed White Man In Self-Defense
NAACP president and CEO Ben Jealous and other members of the civil rights group met with local politicians and journalists on Monday as part of an effort to spur the release of a black imprisoned after shooting a white man on the shooter’s property.
John McNeil, 46, received a life sentence in November 2006 after killing a white man who was trespassing on his property. Police detectives investigating the case determined that McNeil acted in self-defense, but Cobb County District Attorney Pat Head decided a year later to try the case and won a conviction.
The incident took place when McNeil arrived home after his teenage son had called him about an unfamiliar man lurking about their property.
Brian Epp, a hired contractor with whom McNeil had past difficulties, had already pulled a knife on the teenager.
Epp refused to leave, and McNeil, who had called 9-1-1, fired a warning shot into the ground. Epp then charged toward McNeil while reaching into his pocket. McNeil fatally shot him in the head at close range. Court documents state that a pocketknife was clipped inside Epp’s pants pocket. McNeil’s neighbors who witnessed the incident backed his story.
Kennesaw police detectives investigated the case, decided that McNeil had acted in self-defense and didn’t charge him.
McNeil’s self-defense claim is supported by Georgia’s “castle doctrine law,” which allows an individual to use deadly force to protect his or her home, or anyone inside it, from a violent trespasser.
McNeil and his family thought the worst was over, until Head decided to pursue prosecution.
During the trial, McNeil’s neighbors, the two senior detectives investigating the case and a couple who said that they felt threatened by Epp when they hired him to do work all testified in McNeil’s defense. All of those individuals are white.
“We are victims at both ends of the gun,” said Marcus Coleman, who leads the Atlanta chapter of the National Action Network.
What is the law in Georgia? Do they have a stand your ground law? McNeil was convicted of murdering Brian Epp in December of 2005 but today he entered a guilty plea to a manslaughter charge to end an appeal pending before the Georgia Supreme Court. He was sentenced to seven years in prison and 13 years probation on the the manslaughter charge but he was credited for time served and released.
looks like he is out? Hard to compare apples to organes...
Let's not forget the Florida woman who was sentenced to 20 years for "standing her ground" and firing one shot INTO THE AIR to ward off an assault by her abusive husband. Oh yeah -- she was black. But there's no racism in the way Florida's "stand you ground" law is enforced. Right?