NAACP fighting to help convicted murderer
WILSON (WTVD) -- With the support of several local leaders Wednesday, a Wilson woman flew out of North Carolina to visit her husband who is serving a life sentence for murder in Georgia.
The NAACP has fought for years to get John McNeil's conviction overturned.
They don't dispute the fact that he killed a man seven years ago; however, civil rights advocates say he should be released because he was acting in self defense against an armed man who threatened him at his home.
"John did what was right and backed up," NC NAACP President Rev. William Barber said. "John did what was right and fired a warning shot. He only shot this man at point blank range when he had no other option. Two white senior detectives said what John did was right."
While officers and another witness backed McNeil's story, a jury did convict him.
On Wednesday, Barber stood with McNeil's wife before her plane took her off for Georgia in a show of support. McNeil's wife revealed she now has terminal cancer.
"I'm excited yet I'm also sad since this is the first time I've seen him since starting treatments, and also since his mother passed a month ago," Anita McNeil said.
The mayor of Wilson, and business owner Jeff Chesson accompanied Anita Mcneil to Georgia on Chesson's plane.
Barber said the NAACP's continuing its legal fight for John McNeil.
"The national board, the state conference of North Carolina, the state conference of Georgia and all our other partners. We will not cease until John McNeil is home, and free," he said.
McNeil has an appeal of his conviction awaiting a decision in Cobb County, Georgia.
The Associated Press has reported that Georgia's attorney general is fighting that appeal.
A spokesperson for the AG's office would not comment about it over the phone, and cited a policy there that prohibits talking about pending cases.
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