Ricky Neal Jr. guilty of murder, deliberation continues Tuesday


POSTED: Wednesday, May 7, 2014 - 6:00pm

UPDATED: Wednesday, May 7, 2014 - 6:01pm

A verdict has been reached for an East Texan accused of fatally shooting a man at a Tyler mall parking lot last year.

Ricky Neal Jr. was found guilty of murder just before 11 a.m. Wednesday May 7. We were in the packed courtroom Wednesday morning.

After the verdict was read it was an emotional response from both families. Ten minutes after the verdict was read the second phase began. The second phase determines the punishment.

Late afternoon on Wednesday, we learned that the prosecution and defense both rested on the sentencing phase and deliberation continues on Tuesday.

"The State of Texas versus Ricky C. Neal in the 7th Judicial Court of Smith County Texas, we the jury find the defendant Ricky C. Neal Jr. Guilty of the offense of murder with the use of the deadly weapon as charge in the indictment signed by the presiding juror as was indicated, does with any party wish to have the jury uphold," said Kerry Russell, Smith County Judge.

Neal is charged with murder in the death of Christopher Mass, also being punished for shooting Jonathan Dews injuring him.

The second phase began shortly after the verdict with read on Wednesday and began with an opening statement from prosecutor Wood, addressing the jury Wood was asking for a life in prison sentence.

Neal's attorney Thad Davidson asking for 20 years in prison or less. "Weigh all factors I ask you to argue among yourselves and debate among yourselves what you think the right outcome is."

Prosecutors were asking the jury to think about Mass' life being taken from him, the father and athlete he was, while Davidson was expressing Neal's act of self-defense thinking Dews would pull out a weapon after a dispute and Mass being by his Dews side.

More witnesses were called to stand one witness was in jail with Neal after the arrest. "What he told him was that he wanted to get out of that car and burn him so he can burn him so he can burn him down which he accomplished," said Wood.

We'll continue to update you as more information becomes available.

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