This story is closed for comments. Comments on WRAL.com news stories are accepted and moderated between the hours of 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. Monday through Friday.
teebone Sep 17, 2:58 p.m.
The Castle Doctrine and its extended counterparts should not even have to be codified into law. Natural Rights are self-evident, and don't need lawyers to 'interpret' them.
Based upon the witness testimony, his act was justified. I question the "warning shot", though, because if you have to shoot to stop someone, you HAVE TO SHOOT HIM, not the ground.
This guy should never have been charged. Neither should Zimmerman have been, and even though SYG is codified and the police and prosecutor refused to charge him, a political lyinching was initiated.
For shame. And people wonder why some don't trust "the system"?
Weetie Sep 13, 3:14 p.m.
DooksucksV.2 Sep 13, 2:51 p.m.
A little more about the case:
He chose to confront him after calling the police. The man also had a knife, but it was folded away in his pocket.
He also fired a shot into the ground, a no-no.
muggs Sep 13, 2:21 p.m.
If the White race had an organization advocating for their rights it would be considered racist, we had one and the federal government moved in on it but continue to listen to the NAACP, they bring racism on themselves.
charmcclainlovesdogs2 Sep 13, 1:51 p.m.
It isn't only in the South.
You are absolutely right about that. Its everywhere.
bayrvr Sep 13, 1:37 p.m.
"There isn't much need for them up North".
PLEASE don't insult our intelligence! There is prejudice everywhere. It isn't only in the South.
charmcclainlovesdogs2 Sep 13, 1:34 p.m.
I'm so grateful to the NAACP for the fine work they do
I would never call on the NAACP for NOTHING! They need a new president, I will continue to say that much.
charmcclainlovesdogs2 Sep 13, 1:33 p.m.
He killed a man and justice was served. He should have called the law and allow them to handle the matter. But he took it into his own hands. That was not the way to go.
Winston Sep 13, 1:31 p.m.
Chill westernwake..McNeil is going to rot in jail.
bill0 Sep 13, 1:31 p.m.
"babbleon - If you would read all of the court documents, you would realize that there was never any evidence of a threat with a knife by Mr. Epps to the son.
Unfortunately, that doesn't fit your narrative so you'll ignore it along with the fact that the shooter lied about Mr. Epps charging him with a knife. The knife was clearly in Mr. Epps pocket as he lay dying."
That isn't really true. Nobody disputes that Epps did threaten the son with a knife. That was about 15 minutes before the father arrived back home. By that point, the son was back in the house and the knife was in Epps pocket. That is the part that was disputed. If you want to claim self defense, you need to show you were in imminent danger. You can't just guess that because he had a knife earlier he might still have one.
fayncmike Sep 13, 1:24 p.m.
I'm so grateful to the NAACP for the fine work they do. I've been a life member for about thirty years. Without them there would be many more injustices, particularly in the South. There isn't much need for them up North.
westernwake1 Sep 13, 12:52 p.m.
I am enjoying how Rev. Barber statements in this case completely lack in truth.
"Barber said officers found Epp had the knife in his hand when they got to the scene of the shooting." - FALSE. the knife was folded and in Ebb's pocket.
“The McNeils were not the only family that Epp had threatened,” - FALSE - No other family has come forward in court and stated they were threatened by Mr. Ebb.
"Barber said. “There is new evidence that never came out in the trial about marijuana being in the truck of the trespasser and his former record as a methamphetamine felon." - FALSE. No evidence in court documents about Mr. Ebb being a meth felon. No prison records found for Brian Ebb. No police log of marijuana being in the truck from the crime evidence at the scene.
How much "information" is the NAACP going to fabricate in this case.
westernwake1 Sep 13, 12:26 p.m.
"westernwake1... I don't know where you got your info. Epps was not supposed to be on the property for starters. Nevermind. You need to read the court documents" - daughters of anarchy
Here is a document citing judges in the state court decision. I have read the court documents - it is clear you have not.
You appear to be forgetting the part that while it was more than 10 days past closing, McNeil called Ebb demanding that he come over and complete the punch list - did that somehow escape your notice while inspecting information about the case. If you demand a builder come over to fix the punch list then I expect the homeowner had granted the right for the builder to be on the property.
Card Player Sep 13, 12:10 p.m.
babbleon - If you would read all of the court documents, you would realize that there was never any evidence of a threat with a knife by Mr. Epps to the son.
Unfortunately, that doesn't fit your narrative so you'll ignore it along with the fact that the shooter lied about Mr. Epps charging him with a knife. The knife was clearly in Mr. Epps pocket as he lay dying.
This man was upset about Mr. Epps work. He told the 911 operator he was going to beat Mr. Epps up, loaded his weapon to confront him, shot him, then apparently started lying to cover for himself.
When have you ever heard of anyone loading a gun to talk to their builder?
There are a lot of injustices out there that the NAACP, Sharpton, and Jackson could protest. This is not one of them.
daughters of anarchy Sep 13, 12:06 p.m.
westernwake1... I don't know where you got your info. Epps was not supposed to be on the property for starters. Nevermind. You need to read the court documents.
Card Player Sep 13, 11:57 a.m.
"You know what's funny about this case. If the exact same situation happened and the guy with the knife was black and man with the gun white, the NAACP would be screaming about the white man killing the black man and he didn't have to shoot him. I guarantee it." - Duke _Nukem
Hadn't thought about that but you're exactly right.
Chatham Rebel Sep 13, 11:53 a.m.
WRAL Please stop giving the NAACP free press when it is really not warranted.
westernwake1 Sep 13, 11:33 a.m.
"How can anyone who has actually read up on the story believe that this man deserves to be in jail for murder? " - imsirius
Maybe you need to read all the court briefs and not just this news story which only provides half the facts (those from the NAACP). The man John McNeil killed was the builder of his house who was on the property to do some post closing repair work. It appears Mr. McNeil and Mr. Epps already had an unhappy relationship due to the housing transaction. McNeil called 911 and told the operator from his car and stated he was going to "whip his -rear end-". There is no evidence that Epps had a knife out or charged anyone aggressively with a weapon. There is also proof that the son's testimony about being threatened with knife is false. It is clear that McNeil and Epps had a verbal altercation. There is also proof that McNeil may have baited Epps and demanded that he come fix things on the property with the entire intent of shooting him.
sarahanne2 Sep 13, 11:29 a.m.
Wral is very biased---I have taken the time to post several comments that never get posted and have decided other than in this moment to obstain from taking the time to make any posts anymore because it is pointless and frustrating.
daughters of anarchy Sep 13, 11:24 a.m.
Where was the NAACP in this case...
Man beaten by by-standers in Henderson, NC. http://www.wral.com/news/news_briefs/story/9298969/.....
What does this have to do with this man in prison???
daughters of anarchy Sep 13, 11:22 a.m.
Amen imsirius.... Plus the dead guy had a history of being conceived as violent or go get violent.
imsirius Sep 13, 11:11 a.m.
How can anyone who has actually read up on the story believe that this man deserves to be in jail for murder? Regardless of what you think about the NAACP, this is wrong all the way around. Where are all the pro-gun commenters who are on here every single day? This man was protecting himself and his son from an armed man who had already said he intended to cause him physical harm. He fired 1 warning shot into the ground and backed away from the aggressor. After the aggressor continued towards him with a knife, he shot him.
Realthoughts Sep 13, 11:01 a.m.
Where was the NAACP in this case...
Man beaten by by-standers in Henderson, NC.
Winston Sep 13, 10:56 a.m.
This case has already lost in the Georgia Supreme Court. Does Barber honestly think this will make it to the U.S. Supreme Court? No way.
dontstopnow Sep 13, 10:44 a.m.
I was the first person to post a response on this story at 8 this morning but I see it has now been removed. Interesting that an opinion that calls Barber and the NAACP bigots is now not acceptable but it was earlier this morning. HUMMMMMMM WRAL your bias is showing.
daughters of anarchy Sep 13, 10:35 a.m.
This man should not be in prison. He was on his property and his son had been threatened. I would have done the same.
piratepeople2 Sep 13, 10:34 a.m.
you are right on it "boneymaroney13"!!I totally agree.
Realthoughts Sep 13, 10:34 a.m.
Could the NAACP tell why there are so many African American photos when you look at Wake County Arrest photos on WRAL? How about work with the community to see about reducing the crimes that cause these photos to appear!
Realthoughts Sep 13, 10:32 a.m.
Where was the NAACP when several black nearly beat to death a Pizza delivery driver in Henderson, NC. If the NAACP is going speak out for every white on black crime then the need to speak out against every black on white crime as well. Not saying anything makes it seem okay for AA community!
westernwake1 Sep 13, 10:28 a.m.
After reading the information and briefs in this case, I think that the NAACP will have a long, difficult, futile battle in their attmept to free this man from prison.
Realthoughts Sep 13, 10:26 a.m.
Aside from it being a said situation,this lady's health has nothing to do with his innocents or guilt. Nice play by whoever wrote the article.
rsgolo Sep 13, 10:09 a.m.
"You know what's funny about this case. If the exact same situation happened and the guy with the knife was black and man with the gun white, the NAACP would be screaming about the white man killing the black man and he didn't have to shoot him. I guarantee it."
babbleon Sep 13, 10:06 a.m.
You know what's funny about this case. If the exact same situation happened and the guy with the knife was black and man with the gun white, the NAACP would be screaming about the white man killing the black man and he didn't have to shoot him. I guarantee it. Duke _Nukem
What's even funnier (or sadder) is in that case, there would be people on this forum saying, 'good shot.'
babbleon Sep 13, 10:04 a.m.
Georgia law at the time:
[i]t is not essential to justify a homicide that there should be an actual assault made upon th[e] defendant. Threats accompanied by menaces, though the menaces do not amount to an actual assault, may in some instances be sufficient to arouse a reasonable belief that one's life is in imminent danger or that one is in imminent danger of great bodily harm or that a forcible felony is about to be committed upon one's person.11
"He's got a knife in his pocket that he's pulled out once already, and he's coming at me" would make me believe my life was in imminent danger.
This totally should be overturned, and thank you NAACP for taking this on.
ps: Parallels to Zimmerman are few - McNeil was on his property, after a threat to his son. He didn't leave his property to go after Epp. Epp came after him, despite a warning shot and verbal warning.
I am surprised it was prosecuted, and I think race did play into that decision.
babbleon Sep 13, 9:53 a.m.
Card Player: Did you read the dissent? I find myself in complete agreement with it.
tarheelfan41 Sep 13, 9:48 a.m.
Retreat into your house, call 911. If the guy burst into your house blow him away. No problem. This was/is murder. Sorry for his wie's health problem, but irrealavent to the case.
babbleon Sep 13, 9:45 a.m.
1) How did McNeil know he had a knife?
2) Why did the cops agree it was self-defense, initially?
Let's look at the info you didn't post:
McNeil's kid thinks Epp is trespassing, asks him to leave, Epp pulls a knife, kid calls dad for help.
"An eyewitness who was across the street heard McNeil and Epp arguing loudly. A few minutes later he heard a loud pop and saw smoke and McNeil pointing his hand toward the ground and stepping backward. Epp was in the yard between McNeil's house and the one next door and walking toward McNeil. McNeil continued to back up with his hands pointed toward the ground and said “Back up, I am not playing with you.” Epp increased his speed toward McNeil and McNeil raised his gun and fired at Epp's head. Epp's hands were at his sides, and the eyewitness did not see him raise his hands or see any weapons in his hands."
Epp was warned, kept coming, had a knife, even if it wasn't out. I'd have gone for self-defense if I were on that jury.
Duke _Nukem Sep 13, 9:38 a.m.
You know what's funny about this case. If the exact same situation happened and the guy with the knife was black and man with the gun white, the NAACP would be screaming about the white man killing the black man and he didn't have to shoot him. I guarantee it.
lessismore Sep 13, 9:30 a.m.
More racial divide...administered by the NAACP. I suppose Al Sharpton, MSNBC, Eric Holder, and Jessie Jackson will also be involved....never let a crisis go to waste. This might get Obama a few more black votes.
Witnesses corrobborated the on of McNeil "had been" threatened....when? Where was McNeil's son when McNeil shot and killed this man? Why didn't McNeil call the police? It doesn't say that McNeil feared for his life, or his son's life, when the shooting happened....This looks like murder.
wildpig777 Sep 13, 9:23 a.m.
The NAACP is as racist an organization as the KKK is. They have zero credibility with everyone but the government.
of course they are
lanecc Sep 13, 9:23 a.m.
Maybe this will keep Barber busy for a while.
boneymaroney13 Sep 13, 9:12 a.m.
Yu have to look at the law he ws convicted under. If he had the ability, did he retreat as required by the law in place at that time? The Castle law was not in place at that time. sounds like baober and his naacp is trying to get him grandfathered in under the new Castle law.
Card Player Sep 13, 9:06 a.m.
Oh and by the way, this guy also lied to the police about his self-defense claim. From the court records:
"Later, an officer arrived at the scene and found Epp on the ground with a fatal gunshot wound to the head. McNeil informed the officer that Epp had pulled a knife on him and then McNeil shot him. The officer saw a knife clipped inside the right hand pocket of Epp's pants. A forensic investigator from the Cobb County Medical Examiner's Office also responded to the scene and noticed that the knife in Epp's pocket was folded. Dr. Brian Frist, the Chief Medical Examiner of Cobb County, later determined that the abrasions on Epp's face indicated that he had been shot at a distance of less than three feet. There were no abrasions on Epp's hands to indicate that he had raised his hands to defend himself."
Guilty as charged. NAACP once again protests a good conviction.
MonkeyFace Sep 13, 9:03 a.m.
IF in fact, he told the 911 operator that he was going to beat this guy up, and then got home and loaded his gun, as one poster said, I could very easily see why he was convicted. IF, this had all happened at his house, he didn't call 911 and say those things, I could see how it would be self defense with the witnesses backing up this guy's story. Point is.. we don't know what happened
highcountry Sep 13, 9:02 a.m.
Are you serious?! The NAACP is a bully. In this day and age we aren't going anywhere with people like them helping out others only because of their race.
devpow9987 Sep 13, 8:57 a.m.
My heart aches for Anita. All the extra stress from her husband's case and incarceration, along with his mother passing probably led to this latest illness. I pray things work out before her time is up. On another note, I heard about this case years ago. It bothered me then and it bothers me now. I don't care what their races are, if a man threatens your child with a knife and refuses to leave YOUR yard, you have every right to defend your life, your child, and your home. Georgia dropped the ball on this case and needs to make it right. Send this man back home to Wilson where he belongs.
Card Player Sep 13, 8:46 a.m.
"where can i go to read what the guy told the 911 operator,and why does it say that witnesses back up McNeil's story" - wrightsbulldogs
MrsPage1989 Sep 13, 8:37 a.m.
what took so long?
BubbaDukeforPresident Sep 13, 8:36 a.m.
I do agree that homeowners ought to be able to defend themselves, my previous post was about anyone being convicted based solely on racism in this day and age....of course with Obama's divisiveness, we've regressed 50 years.
Realthoughts Sep 13, 8:34 a.m.
WRAL, how about some more details of the actual case. Check the court documents. You only show one side of things. You just as well be in the NAACP's pocket.
Published: 2008-01-11 14:37:00
Updated: 2010-06-21 13:53:03