This happened a few days ago. I think its a joke that the DA actually thought about pressing murder charges against this guy. He took out a drug dealer and punk..a guy to me that got what he had coming to him.
By BARBARA LAKER
Philadelphia Daily News
FRIENDS and relatives of Joseph McNair, or "Joey," as they call him, acknowledge he was "no prayer book."
Yes, he was a big-time convicted Philadelphia drug dealer, they say.
Yes, he had a long rap sheet.
But they contend he wasn't a bully, never carried guns and didn't deserve to die at the hands of a neighbor.
In a bucolic section of Schwenksville, Montgomery County, Darryl Simmons, a veteran off-duty SEPTA police sergeant, pumped several bullets into McNair Wednesday night during a heated confrontation.
Simmons told police that McNair had terrorized the neighborhood and threatened to kill his family. He also said that he thought McNair was reaching for a gun after the two almost got into a car accident near their homes.
"People are using his past to justify killing him," said Dawn Johnson, 35, a close friend. "That's just wrong. The shooting was outright murder."
"He was no prayer book, but he was not a violent man," said his cousin, Irvin McNair, 34.
The Montgomery County District Attorney's Office is investigating the case. Simmons has not been charged with any crime and District Attorney Risa Vetri Ferman said she has ruled out murder, explaining that it was not premeditated or committed in malice.
"It is clear that McNair was the neighborhood bully," Ferman said.
McNair's friends and relatives don't buy it.
"They wanted him dead," said Jennifer Lieze, 32, who has been friends with McNair for about two years.
"They were harassing him," said Lieze, who lives in Horsham. "They wanted him out of the neighborhood. They were trying to get rid of him. He used to tell us that all the time."
Simmons told police that McNair threatened to kill him, his wife and children, and that he was so concerned, he researched McNair's criminal past.
Simmons gave his neighbors a run-down of McNair's prison time, Lieze said, and McNair believed it was used to harass him.
In November 1995, McNair was sentenced to 108 months in federal prison and five years of supervised release in connection with a cocaine conspiracy case. In December 2004, his supervised release was revoked and he was sent to federal prison for nine months, according to court records. At the time of his death, McNair was under federal investigation for drug trafficking, law-enforcement sources said.
His rap sheet also includes arrests for rape, kidnapping, weapons offenses and even murder but most charges were dropped or dismissed. He was acquitted in the murder case in 2002.
McNair grew up in North Philadelphia near 16th and Berks streets, where relatives plan to hold a vigil tonight.
"He had a history of dealing drugs . . . He could make thousands of dollars a day, rather than work 40 hours a week," said his cousin, Maryann McNair, 43.
"It doesn't make it right, but he changed," she said. "He turned his life around. He was a good family man, a good father.
"He wasn't a bully. He wasn't aggressive. It's sad that his death is based on his past."
McNair, a father of four, bought the house on Eaglet Lane in 2006 for $515,000, according to public records. He lived there with his girlfriend, Jia Smith, and three Rottweilers. McNair's relatives say Smith, an accountant, was able to put up a lot of money for the luxury home. They said he was an "entrepreneur" building a new life, who also sometimes drove hearses for a Philadelphia funeral home.
Neighbors said they were afraid of his dogs and told McNair as much. Neighbor Kevin Rodzinak said he was outside with his 9-year-old son one day in December when McNair let the Rottweilers loose in his direction. Rodzinak shot and killed one of the dogs.
Rodzinak was charged with simple assault, terroristic threats and disorderly conduct, but the charges were dismissed.
On Wednesday night, Simmons was headed to pick up his daughter from soccer practice before going to work, said Simmons' attorney, Charles Mandracchia.
McNair, driving a Pontiac Vibe, nearly struck Simmons in his BMW. McNair drove by, then got out and began threatening Simmons, according to the Montgomery County District Attorney's Office.
"You're not built for this," Simmons said that McNair told him. "I'll blow you away."
McNair returned to his car, leaned through the front door and Simmons told police he thought McNair was reaching for a gun. Simmons pulled out his .357 Smith & Wesson revolver and fired repeatedly. McNair had several wounds in his trunk and one to the face. No weapon was found in McNair's car.
"If you're a police officer, you should know how to handle a situation and walk away," said his daughter, Jaina Robinson, 19. "Just because you're a cop doesn't mean you can shoot and kill a man. He shot him repeatedly. If it was my dad, he'd be in jail.
"I believe that guy shouldn't be able to sleep at night. My dad's not sleeping. He's in the morgue," she said.
Relatives question why Simmons didn't get a restraining order against McNair if he felt so threatened.
Mandracchia said Simmons did contact police, but no charges were filed. It was Simmons' word against McNair's, he said.'
"I want justice," said his eldest daughter, Diera Regan, 20, who lived with her dad until June.
"I know my father. My father just didn't go bother people," she said.
"My dad had no weapon. I don't understand why he killed my father. I just don't understand." *