Murder trial for Tyler mall shooting rescheduled for victim's bi - KLTV.com-Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville, Texas | ETX News

Murder trial for Tyler mall shooting rescheduled for victim's birthday

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Ricky Neal Jr. (Source; Smith County Jail) Ricky Neal Jr. (Source; Smith County Jail)
TYLER, TX (KLTV) -

The East Texas man accused of shooting and killing another man outside of the Tyler mall was in court Monday. Ricky Neal Junior, 25, is charged with the murder and aggravated assault of two men outside of Broadway Square Mall in February.

According to police, Neal and another man go into an argument over posts on Twitter.

Inside a packed courtroom Monday, family members learned the trial would be postponed to the victim's birthday.

Prosecutors with the district attorney's office announced they would not be offering Neal a plea deal.

Due to scheduling conflicts, Neal's trial was rescheduled for October 7, a date that was already going to be difficult for the victim, Chris Mass' family. They say October 7 would have been Mass' 24th birthday.

On February 9, police were called to the morning shooting in the mall parking lot. There, Mass' loved ones were devastated to learn of the Chapel Hill High School graduate's death.

"[...He was] very well liked, loved by his friends. My son and he grew up playing sports together. Chris was an exceptional athlete," said Mass' pastor.

According to court documents, another man, Jonathon Dews told police Neal challenged him to come outside of the mall and fight with him, but Neal told police Dews was the one who wanted to fight and Neal declined. 

Read Ricky Neal Jr.'s arrest affidavit

An arrest warrant affidavit goes on to say that once the men were in the mall parking lot, Neal felt threatened by Christopher Mass who was putting his sweatshirt in a nearby car. Court documents say, Neal told police he suspected Mass had retrieved a weapon from the car despite the fact that he never saw a weapon.

According to those court documents, Neal advised police he shot Christopher Mass twice and then shot at Jonathon Dews as he ran.

See how family members remember Christopher Mass

Neal also faces a charge of assault with a deadly weapon. He is being held on total bonds of $1.25 million dollars 

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