NAACP challenges Olens’ decision to appeal ruling in convicted killer’s case
by Geoff Folsom
gfolsom@mdjonline.com
October 20, 2012 03:21 AM | 2572 views | 11 11 comments | 5 5 recommendations | email to a friend | print
MARIETTA — NAACP leaders vow to fight against the state attorney general’s decision to appeal a ruling vacating Kennesaw resident John McNeil’s 2006 murder conviction.

McNeil’s wife, Anita, said at an NAACP news conference in suburban Washington on Friday that she recently visited her husband in prison, where he is serving a life sentence for which he will be eligible for parole after 14 years. He has served 5 ½ years of the sentence.

“He’s not bitter, he’s not angry, he just knows that he has supporters out here,” said Anita McNeil, who added that she hadn’t been able to visit him as much as she would like to because she has breast cancer.

John McNeil’s case stems from a Dec. 6, 2005, confrontation with Brian Epp at McNeil’s home on Earlvine Way in Kennesaw. Epp got into an argument with McNeil over work he was doing for McNeil. McNeil shot Epp once in the head with a 9mm handgun, an action he said was taken in self-defense when Epp came at him with a knife.

Police and the county medical examiner said Epp was not armed, having a utility knife he used as a homebuilder clipped to his pocket.

NAACP President Ben Jealous said the organization is putting together briefs for the case, which could end up in an appeal as well as a new trial leading to months of new litigation.

“Can a man in the US of A defend his family?” Jealous asked. “Some people say this is about a black man in Georgia, but it is a black man in Georgia defending his family. When can a man in America defend his family?”

The NAACP has started a legal defense fund for John McNeil, which is accepting donations at any Wells Fargo branch, and an online petition has collected 23,000 signatures asking for his conviction to be overturned.

In addition, a rally in support of McNeil has been planned for noon on Nov. 10, either on the Marietta Square or at the State Capitol in Atlanta.

North Carolina NAACP State Conference President the Rev. Dr. William J. Barber II said there have been a number of misconceptions in the case. He said John McNeil and Epp never had a running feud.

“He did everything he could,” Barber said. “He retreated, he went backward, he fired a warning shot.”

The North Carolina NAACP has dealt with the case because Anita McNeil moved there while undergoing cancer treatment.

Attorney General Sam Olens said Wednesday that McNeil’s defense in his trial was effective in announcing his decision to appeal a ruling by Baldwin County Superior Court Judge Hulane George.

George ruled last month that McNeil received ineffective counsel in his 2006 trial. Olens’ appeal will send the case back to the Georgia Supreme Court.

Olens made his decision to appeal on the request of Cobb District Attorney Pat Head. George did not dismiss the case, but set aside the conviction. If the Georgia Supreme Court upholds the ruling, the case would come back to Cobb for a new trial.

Atlanta attorney Mark Yuracheck, who filed the habeas corpus petition on McNeil’s behalf, said he filed it in Baldwin County because McNeil was being held there at the time. McNeil was moved on Aug. 27 to Macon State Prison in Oglethorpe.
Comments
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MARIETTA RESIDENT
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October 22, 2012
WELL SAID RICHARD!
would be nice
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October 22, 2012
It would be nice if there was no need for NAACP, but inequities continue. The "Stand Your Ground Law" does not apply fairly to all citizens.
tired of it
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October 22, 2012
Well maybe Richard if the blacks were not taught that the government owes them something maybe they would learn to get a real job and make it on their own. Most of the blacks I come across are on welfare or SSI, foodstamps and other entitlements and about who's fault it is when they get in troube funny thing is its never their fault its because they are bipolar or ADHD or someother excuse for their behavior. NAACP is not about fair its about being black and owed something.
cobbwhite
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October 22, 2012
tired of it - sounds like you need to get more black friends that are more like you because most of the black people I decide to hand around and meet are well-educated professionals, especially in Atlanta.
tired of it
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October 22, 2012
to cobb white most of the ones i am around are people who have been incarcerated and of course their mommys all blame everyone but the ones responsible. I have plenty of black friends but I never realized how much of my tax money and your tax money goes to entitlements of what I mentioned before. I am reading a book by a black author called "blacklash" the author is black and talks about the black community and what they are taught through out their lives that they are owed something. and she herself says blacks have gown from slavery plantation to the government plantation and the likes of Jesse Jackson and such do nothing but keep black americans down instead of bringing them to their potential.
New Order National H
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October 22, 2012
This man needs to be release this dont make no sense at all period !!!!
GrowUp1981
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October 20, 2012
Everything has to be about color. Lasdt time I checked it was 2012. The prominent racists these days are the ones hiding in orginizations like NAACP and Panthers and they are no different then today's KKK and White power orginizations. Enough is Enough! Grow Up and Move on
Richard Pellegrino
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October 21, 2012
If you are not white in America then most everything still is about color when it comes to inequities in our justice system and other institutions. If you are white in America everything is about denying that color and racism still play a dominant role in denying equal opportunity and treatment. So GrowUp1981 it is time that you grow up and confront your own denial.

And the big difference between the white supremacist organizations and the the black organizations is that the former teach and spew hate and the latter teach pride in one's own culture but not by putting down other races and cultures. You should attend their meetings (I have attended both the white and black ones and know the difference first hand.)
MAY-RETTA SURVIVOR
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October 20, 2012
Just think, if it weren't for trying to free CONVICTED BLACK MURDERERS, or other black felons, the NAACP would have nothing to do! Sad.
Richard Pellegrino
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October 21, 2012
It would be great if there was no need for the NAACP but as long as the present inequities in our justice system linger (that is, everyone knows and admits, except the most sheltered folk, that Blacks get arrested, jailed, convicted way more than whites and their sentences are 3 to 10 times more severe for the same crimes with all other factors being equal)---the need will be great and I am proud, as a white and therefore privileged person in America, to be an NAACP member working for the an equal playing field for all so that America can reach its true greatness.
MAY-RETTA SURVIVOR
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October 22, 2012
@pelligrino: No "followup" to any, repeat any, of my comments are required by you. For, as you have proven time and time again, the freaks in your neck of the woods far outnumber the circuses. In other words, butt out!
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