A Wilson native who has spent the last five years in a Georgia prison for a killing he said was self-defense will be released from prison Tuesday after pleading to a lesser charge.

John McNeil was convicted in 2005 for shooting a man who he said threatened his son, but he will be released Tuesday after pleading guilty to voluntary manslaughter. A judge sentenced McNeil to 20 years for manslaughter but gave him credit for seven years served and said he will serve probation following his release.

McNeil’s family said he will return to Wilson Tuesday afternoon.

A Georgia judge ruled last fall that McNeil should be released because of multiple errors at trial, including that the jury was not properly instructed on a person’s right to use force to defend himself, his home or another person from violent attack.

Source: Beau Minnick for WRAL

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