A Long Island couple was charged on Monday for allegedly “persistently” harassing their neighbor, including throwing dog feces and repeatedly shooting a pellet gun, which caused the woman to “live in fear,” the prosecutor said.
John McEneaney, 57, faces charges of criminal mischief and harassment, and Mindy Canarick, 53, a charge of criminal tampering, Nassau County District Attorney Madeline Singas announced at a Monday press conference. All three charges are misdemeanors.
The case gained widespread attention in July after Jennifer McLeggan, who is Black, of Valley Stream, New York, hung a note several feet long on her front door laying out her allegations against her white neighbors.
McLeggan, a nurse, alleged the harassment was racially motivated, but Singas said her office could not substantiate that claim.
“While we did not evidence to support a hate crime charge, this kind of persistent harassment is never acceptable,” the district attorney said, according to a video of her remarks on YouTube. “This conduct crossed the line between being a bad neighbor and into the realm of criminality.”
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“The sign on Jennifer McLeggan’s door broke my heart and rallied a community to her aid. It also moved my office to investigate this matter because nobody should have to live in fear of harassment from their neighbors,” Singas said in a press release.
Singas said that McLeggan, a single mom, moved into the home in 2017 while pregnant and “immediately began to be harassed, allegedly by the defendants.”
McEneaney allegedly shot pellet guns repeatedly across the victim’s lawn, from April 2017 until July 2020, striking a nearby street sign at least 20 times, the district attorney’s press release said. McLeggan feared that she or her young daughter would be hit by a pellet, at least four of which were found on her lawn, the release said.
Additionally, after returning home from an overnight nursing shift one day in 2019, McLeggan allegedly observed Canarick drop dog feces onto her property.
Records show McLeggan previously won a judgment in small claims court against Canarick in 2019. A court official told NBC News in July the judgment was in the amount of $5,036.24.
Phone calls to listed at the same address as McEneaney and Canarick were not answered Tuesday and a voicemail left for McEneaney was not immediately returned.
McEneaney told reporters he was innocent while leaving court on Monday, claiming he and Canarick were victims, according to NBC New York.
McLeggan’s attorney, Heather Palmore, told The New York Daily News that “the aggression of the neighbor … went on too long.”
“For years she felt unsafe coming to a place she was supposed to feel safe at, coming home,” she said.
“No one should feel threatened in their own home, I hope she and her daughter can sleep better tonight,” Singas said.
Palmore told the Daily News the charges were overdue.
“It’s more representative of the overall state of the poor relationship between the police and the Black community here on Long Island,” she said.