Justice for John McNeil1:10 pm - 03/19/2012
The police had determined his act to be self-defense, a civil-court judge dismissed a civil lawsuit by the deceased Mr. Ebb's family against Mr. McNeil, saying, he was not-liable for death as it was a justifiable act of self-defense. So how is it that this man is still sitting behind bars 6 years later for the rest of his life? Because it's about race. No matter how which way you want to look at it.
This story is from August of 2011, but in light of this situation I thought I'd post it.
John McNeil of Cobb County GA. Sentenced to Life After Officers Determine Self Defense in Shooting
The North Carolina and Georgia State Conferences of the NAACP, joined by the National NAACP, will hold a press conference Tuesday, August 24 on the steps of the Georgia State Capitol (Washington Street side) at 11:30 AM to address the wrongful conviction of Mr. John McNeil by the Georgia system of ‘justice.’ The two State Conferences and the National NAACP will visit Mr. McNeil at the Hancock State Prison prior to the press conference and will release the powerful dissent of the Chief Justice of Georgia’s Supreme Court in Mr. McNeil’s case. “How is it that in America, a person can receive a life sentence for defending his life and that
of his child, from an armed attacker?” stated NAACP President and CEO Benjamin Todd Jealous. “The conviction and sentencing of John McNeil is a case the courts must reexamine. As American citizens we have the right to defend our homes, our lives and our families without the threat of excessive jail sentences. We stand with the NC and GA NAACP State Conferences as they demand justice for John McNeil,” concluded Jealous.
John McNeil, a father who was defending his teenage son, himself, and his home, was convicted and sentenced to life in prison in November 2006 for killing Brian Epp, a white trespasser. The Chief Justice of the Georgia Supreme Court found that Epp, an armed trespasser on McNeil’s property had already threatened McNeil’s son with a box cutter. When McNeil arrived home to protect his son, he told the trespasser to get off the McNeil property. Eyewitnesses saw the trespasser, with the box cutter still on his person, keep advancing toward McNeil. McNeil warned him again, and when the trespasser got within a few feet of McNeil, the homeowner fired a warning shot into the ground. The trespasser continued to advance in a threatening manner toward McNeil, ignoring McNeil’s command to back up. When the trespasser was within arm’s distance where he could injure or kill McNeil with the box cutter, or grab McNeil’s weapon, McNeil fired one shot, which was fatal.
“Sir Edward Coke, an English jurist of the 17th century once said, ‘An Englishman’s home is his castle’,” said Rev. Dr. William J. Barber, II, NC NAACP State
Conference President. “In Georgia, however, a black man’s home is nothing. What happened to John McNeil in the Georgia courts is a cynical miscarriage of justice that must be overturned. His conviction and life sentence should convince every person of goodwill that we are sentenced to a life of struggle to dismantle the racism deeply rooted in our criminal justice system. If it canhappen to John McNeil, it could happen to any of us” concluded Rev. Barber.
“After reviewing all the evidence in the John McNeil case, I am convinced that McNeil’s only crime is that of being Black,” stated Ed Dubose, NAACP Georgia State Conference President. “The fact that a black homeowner, on his own property, defending his son from a trespasser wielding a box cutter could be given a life sentence is a grim reminder of how unequal the scales of justice really are. We will continue in the fight for Mr. McNeil and his family until justice prevails,” Dubose concluded.
We trust that when the public learns the details of the evidence as recited by the Chief Justice of the Georgia Supreme Court there will be a national and international movement for a new trial for Mr. McNeil.This breakdown the story in more details
I'm posting this story because this is the perfect example of what would've happened if the situation in Trayvon Martin's case had been reverse and how justice failed both of them.