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NAACP: Wilson Man Wrongly Imprisoned For Murder, Rallied Monday For Release

ATLANTA (AP) -- NAACP leaders on Monday demanded the release of a man imprisoned after killing another man on his property.

The rally at the Georgia Capitol was the African-American leaders' latest effort to free John McNeil, who is serving a life sentence for the 2005 shooting death of Brian Epp. McNeil is black. Epp is white.

McNeil maintains that he acted in self-defense. Police found Epp outside McNeil's Cobb County home. Epp had a knife. Police determined McNeil had not committed a crime, but Cobb County District Attorney Patrick Head still won a murder conviction.

NAACP President Benjamin Todd Jealous said McNeil's case proves that self-defense laws in the United States are not equally applied across racial lines.

McNeil is in a state prison in Oglethorpe, while his conviction is appealed.

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The North Carolina chapter of the NAACP is speaking out in support of a man who says he's wrongly imprisoned for killing a man at his home in Georgia.

The president of North Carolina's NAACP, the Rev. William Barber, will hold a news conference Friday outside the courthouse in Wilson in support of John McNeil, who went to high school there. His wife, Anita, lives in Wilson and will attend the news conference.

McNeil is serving a life sentence. He has said he had little choice but to open fire when Brian Epp charged at him with a knife during a December 2005 shouting match. The Georgia Supreme Court has upheld McNeil's murder conviction.

The NAACP says an attorney has argued before an appellate judge that McNeil had inadequate counsel.


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