Trial for man accused of Tyler mall shooting to begin Tuesday - - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

Trial for man accused of Tyler mall shooting to begin Tuesday

Ricky Neal Jr. (Source: Smith County Jail) Ricky Neal Jr. (Source: Smith County Jail)
The East Texas man accused of shooting and killing another man outside of the Tyler mall will go to trial on Tuesday. Ricky Neal, Jr., 25, is charged with murder and aggravated assault in the shooting death of 23-year-old Christopher Mass. Police say Neal also tried to shoot Jonathon Dews, 29.

On Monday, a dozen witnesses were sworn in and both sides indicated that they are ready to begin the trial, which will begin Tuesday at 8:30 a.m.

In August, prosecutors with the district attorney's office announced they would not be offering Neal a plea deal.

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. 

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.

Monday would have been Mass' 24th birthday.

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