Daniel Penny will go to trial Oct. 8 after he was accused of fatally choking a homeless man on a New York City subway last year, a judge says.

The trial of a West Islip native and Marine veteran accused of fatally choking a homeless man on a New York City subway last year will begin on Oct. 8, a Manhattan judge said Wednesday.

Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Maxwell Wiley said the trial of Daniel Penny, 25, will last four to six weeks. Penny has pleaded not guilty to charges of second-degree manslaughter and criminally negligent homicide.

The  Marine veteran is accused of killing Michael Jackson impersonator Jordan Neely, a death that had a polarizing effect on the public. Some called for justice for Neely and his family, while others said Penny had defended himself and other straphangers from a dangerous person.

Penny is white and Neely was Black, and the case has become a flashpoint in the nation’s ongoing debate over racial justice. Some have hailed Penny as a hero, while others have accused him of racist vigilantism.

Lennon Edwards, an attorney representing Neely’s family, said the victim’s family continues to suffer emotional pain caused by the death of Neely, who was 30 years old when he died. Edwards noted that Neely was not armed and had not physically attacked anyone when Penny approached him from behind and put him in a chokehold.

Neely was hungry and had asked for food during a tirade before Penny put him in the chokehold, Edwards said, and was suffering obvious emotional distress.

“Distress does not mean danger,” said Edwards, who spoke to reporters with his law partner, Donte Mills, and Neely’s father, Andre Zachery, after the court hearing.

“Whenever we see people with a problem as a problem, that mentality is part of the problem,” Edwards added.

Neely was widely known on the city subway system as a Michael Jackson impersonator who busked for money, but he also suffered from mental health issues after his mother was murdered by her boyfriend when he was 14 years old.

Penny and his attorneys left the lower Manhattan courthouse Wednesday morning without speaking to reporters.

Penny lawyer Thomas Kenniff later told Newsday that he hopes Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg’s office will drop the charges in the wake of “high-profile incidents on the subway.”

“We are extremely confident that justice will be served in this case in what will be a full exoneration,” said Kenniff, of the firm Raiser & Kenniff.

Representatives of Bragg’s office declined to comment on Wednesday’s hearing.

In October, Penny’s lawyers submitted court papers to drop the case, claiming their client acted in self defense.

Penny said he acted in self defense and to protect fellow passengers after Neely entered the F train around 2:30 p.m., threw his jacket to the ground and announced, “Someone is going to die today,” according to the motion.

But the judge in January refused to drop the charges and ordered a trial to be held in October.

Crime in New York City’s subways has declined in recent years after a COVID-19 pandemic-driven increase in 2020, according to authorities, while ridership has increased. But many passengers say they feel unsafe in the system, anxiety that may have been fueled by recent incidents that garnered international attention.

A 45-year-old grandfather was fatally shot on a No. 3 train in Brooklyn in January while trying to break up a fight between two other passengers over loud music. In February, a 35-year-old man was killed and five others injured in a shooting on a Bronx platform.

Earlier this month, New York Gov. Kathy Hochul ordered about 1,000 State Police officers and National Guard troops to patrol subway platforms and check bags after a conductor was slashed on an A train in Brooklyn.

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