A few weeks ago we told you the story of John McNeil. John's a successful African American businessman and father of two. In 2005 — while on his own property — he shot and killed a white man who had threatened him and his son with a weapon.
The police were called, but they didn't arrest John. It was clear he acted in self-defense. 274 days after the incident, the Cobb County DA arrested him. He's been in jail ever since.
We recently got some great news about his case. A decision by the Georgia Superior Court has paved the way for John McNeil to be released from prison in a couple of weeks.
Georgia Attorney General Sam Olens has twelve more days to appeal the decision of the Superior Court. We need to act now on John's behalf so he can return to his family.
Tell Georgia Attorney General Sam Olens not to appeal the Georgia Superior Court decision so John McNeil can go home:
The Georgia Superior Court saw the injustice in John's case. They cited multiple errors at trial in granting John's petition for habeas corpus. These included ineffective counsel and a lack of proper instruction to the jury on a person's right in Georgia to use force to defend himself or another person from a violent attack.
John's ailing wife Anita was thrilled with the court's decision, "I know we still have a journey in front of us, but today we smile, for we have won. We are thankful first to God and then to the judge. She looked at the case and saw it for what it is."
When I visited John in prison last month with North Carolina State President Reverend Barber and Georgia State Conference President Edward Dubose, his spirits were high. He knows how hard we are fighting on his behalf.
This is the final step towards righting the wrong of the DA who chose to prosecute a father for defending his family on his own property. Together, we can send John home, where he belongs.
Sign the petition to Georgia Attorney General Sam Olens, and tell your family and friends to do the same:
Benjamin Todd Jealous
President and CEO
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Attorney General Olens,
I am writing to request that you do not appeal a recent decision by the Georgia Superior Court, which will pave the way for John McNeil to be released from prison.
In self-defense, John McNeil, a successful African American businessman and father of two, shot and killed a white man. The deceased was a former builder who worked on John's property and had threatened John and his son with a weapon.
His case should have been covered under Georgia's Castle Doctrine, but John McNeil is sitting in jail serving a life sentence for murder.
The District Attorney brought charges 274 days after the incident. The police believed John McNeil acted in self-defense and did not commit a crime. Two officers who responded to the incident testified at trial that John McNeil acted in self-defense.
The court cited multiple errors at trial in deciding to grant Mr. McNeil's petition for habeas corpus, including a lack of proper instruction to the jury on a person's right in Georgia to use force to defend himself or another person from a violent attack.
Attorney General Olens, John McNeil deserves to be home with his family. His only crime is being black. I respectfully urge you not to pursue an appeal of the Georgia Superior Court's decision.
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