Alleged Tyler mall shooter begins trial in Smith Co. courtroom
Tyler (KETK) — The man charged with killing a 23-year-old man outside the Tyler Broadway Square Mall earlit this year appeared in court today to begin his trial. Proceedings were originally slated to begin back on August 5, but the trial was pushed back to October 7 after the district attorney's office announced they would not accept a plea deal.
Starting at 9 a.m., Smith County prosecutors will seek to prove Ricky Neal, Jr., 26, murdered Chris Mass, a former Chapel Hill athlete and SFA football player, in the mall parking lot on February 9, 2013. The suspect is also charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon after police determined he shot at a second person, Jonathan Lamone Dews.
According to Tyler police, Neal and his girlfriend went to the mall the morning of the shooting to buy shoes at Champs. As they entered the mall, the alleged gunman noticed a group of men, one of which he had an issue with prior about "tweeting" at his girlfriend.
The two parties began to argue and the incident spilled into the parking lot where Neal pulled a gun and allegedly shot Mass dead. He was taken into custody by TPD when they arrived at the scene.