McNeil was on the telephone with the 911 when he pulled into his neighborhood. He told the 911 operator to send someone quickly because he intended to confront Epp, according to a recording played in court.
The operator urged him to stay in his car and wait for police.
“When you get a call from your kids that somebody’s got a knife pulled on them, threatening them, the first thing you want to do is get home and protect your kid, ” John McNeil testified. “So I said I was going to whip his ass.”
McNeil got out of his car with a gun and confronted Epp as the contractor walked over from the house next door. Witnesses said Epp didn’t stop even after McNeil fired a shot into the ground. The second time he fired, McNeil shot the contractor in the face with a hollow-point bullet.
Because Epp had a knife in his front pants pocket McNeil’s lawyer argued then and now that the shooting was justified.
McNeil will serve his 13-year probation in North Carolin. When asked how it felt to be a free man after walking out of jail, McNeil said, “I just want to breathe freedom.”