UPDATES: Jury sequestered in mall shooting case - KLTV.com-Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville, Texas | ETX News

UPDATES: Jury sequestered in mall shooting case

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Ricky Neal, Jr. (Source: Smith County Jail) Ricky Neal, Jr. (Source: Smith County Jail)
TYLER, TX (KLTV) - The trial for an East Texas man accused of fatally shooting another man outside of a Tyler man continued on Tuesday morning.

Ricky Neal, Jr., 26, is charged with murder and aggravated assault with a deadly weapon for his role in the February 2013 shooting that left 23-year-old Christopher Mass dead. Neal is expected to take the stand Wednesday.

KLTV is in the courtroom and will continue to bring you updates throughout the trial.

11:40 p.m.:  The jury was ordered to cease deliberations at 11:20 Tuesday night. Arrangements were then made for sequestration of the jury. Judge said deliberations will resume at 9 a.m. Wednesday morning.

10:35 p.m.: Jury sent a note saying "we need more time to decide." Judge said deliberations will continue but an overnight sequester of the jury is possible.

9:50 p.m.: Jury still deliberating. Family members still huddled outside the courthouse, waiting for a verdict. 

4:15 p.m.: The jury now has the case and is deliberating on a verdict.

1:45 p.m.: Defense called Jonathan Dews to the witness stand. Dews said he was wearing a jacket before going outside. Before the encounter with Neal, he said he took it off and he was five feet from Ricky Neal, Jr., at the time. It was at Mass' car. He said he put his jacket on the car. He said  he ran and "it was not in a straight line." He fell and picked up his jacket before Neal started shooting. As he was running, he said, he dropped the jacket. He left the jacket at the scene and retrieved it when the police got there. Before police came, he was with Mr. Witt. He got the jacket back from police and put it on. He did not show that officer the injuries from his fall. He was transported to Tyler Police Department. There, he did not ask for medical attention.

Dews said no one else had a gun; Neal had a gun. Neal shot at him. He heard several shots.

Defense: Did you pick up Mass' gun? No.
Audience member said "What?!"

Defense rested.

Closing arguments will be later this afternoon.



1:30 p.m.: After a brief conversation with his attorney, Neal said he would like to take the stand. After being admonished extensively by the judge as to his Fifth Amendment rights, Neal changed his mind and decided  not to take the stand, after all.
Defense recalled Jonathan Dews to the stand. He also refused to sign court witness paperwork.

11:54 a.m.: Det. Greg Roberts, Tyler PD:"I received phone call from Sgt. Yates to respond to incident at Tyler mall.

Obtained phone records for Neal and Dews. I didn't do any analysis or personal examination of the records."

Det. Roberts has been excused.

The court will now break for lunch.


11:51 a.m.: Defense called Det. Andy Erbaugh as their third witness. He's a major crimes detective with Tyler PD. He was on duty of day of incident and called to the scene. "I took a photo of one of the vehicles in the parking lot. It was Dews' vehicle. I did not search the vehicle."I interviewed Quinton Smith, Laquita Patton, Jimmy Witt, and Wendy Richardson.

He reported findings to Det. Shine. It was clear Witt and Smith knew each other.

Individuals saw Neal with a gun, no one else. Dews' car was parked on Old Bullard side (West Side) of the mall. An officer was stationed at his vehicle.

I observed victim on ground when I got to the scene. I was told there was a possible witness so I went inside to interview her.

Det. Erbaugh has been released.


11:30 a.m.: Wilmon Davis is the second defense witness. Outside of presence of jury, judge told Davis he can only testify as to what he saw, not what he heard others say.Davis said he saw nothing peculiar or odd in the mall that morning. I told police there were people in front of Champs and JC Penny. They had sagging pants with underwear showing. I didn't know who they were. Neal was not a part of that group. I didn't hear anyone say anything until someone said, "someone's going to get shot." He was stopped by a police officer and asked if he knew the group. He saw Mass in the mall by himself, then outside on the ground.

Judge ruled that Davis' testimony regarding what he heard would be hearsay and he is only allowed to testify about what he saw, not what he heard.

11:06 a.m.: Thad Davidson, Neal's attorney, called Victoria Dailey as his first defense witness. Dailey is a parole officer for the state of Texas.Outside the presence of the jury, state and defense spoke to judge regarding defense's intent to impeach Dews through Ms. Dailey by introducing specific instances of Dews misconduct.

During this hearing, Dailey said she's been supervising Dews since May of last year, two times per month. His parole conditions including drug and alcohol testing, paying supervisory fees, etc. he's had five technical violations including DWLI and substance abuse. Dailey says she believes Dews is honest bc she's told him about the violations. He did not tell her that someone had died during the incident. She said her opinion of his character for truthfulness has changed bc she now know that he failed to tell her the details of the incident.

Judge ruled defense is allowed to ask her her opinion as to Dews' character for truthfulness before the jury. Defense did not ask her this before the jury.

Ms. Dailey has been released.

10:40 a.m.: Detective Shine with the Tyler Police Department said Neal told him that he shot Mass. He said he shot him twice. I wanted to find out his side of the story. Neal said he didn't know who Mass was "many" times. He said they didn't threaten to shoot or kill him. He also said he was threatened by Dews. He said several times that he saw no weapons. Tamara Norton never said she saw any weapons either.

Neal said he shot Mass because "he didn't know what Mass could've gotten out of the car." CSI searched Mass' vehicle and person and no weapons were found.

After briefing, Tyler PD decided to charge Neal with murder and aggravated assault. After arresting Neal, they investigated and gathered more evidence.

Video is conclusive to the fact that there was a disturbance inside and it was carried outside. Dews, Mass and Witt were at the mall to buy shoes. Only Witt bought shoes. Lashonda Dews and Dews went to Champs in the weeks before the shooting. Neal was an employee there at that time. He was on duty at that time.

State: Dews and Neal had a beef with each other on Twitter. Neal walked over the Witt in the mall. Neal saw Dews sitting near Witt. Mass was not over there yet. They were not able to get shoes that day because of this incident.

Neal said he direct messaged Lashonda Dews. He said he asked her about when Dews was getting out of prison.

"I don't believe [the incident] was a schemed plan."

Detective Shine has been released.

State has rested.

10:15 a.m.: Judge swore in defense witness Victoria Dailey prior to the jury coming in.

Defense attorney, Thad Davidson, told judge he is going to play excerpts of the police dashboard camera video. State objected and claimed it contains inadmissible hearsay. Judge ruled that the video will not be allowed.

Davidson is continuing his cross examination of Det. Shine. Shine says he reviewed surveillance video and concluded Neal does not communicate with Mass inside the mall. Neal leaves the mall and 20 seconds later is followed by Dews, Mass and Witt.

People fled, including Mr. Dews. Dews ran southbound towards the main entrance of the Tyler mall. Dews reported to Shine that he fell. Dews had no injuries consistent with a fall while running at full speed.

Shine says Tyler PD did not collect any bullet fragments from the JC Penny wall.

Shine says he was led to believe Dews and Mass did not know each other very well. The video in mall shows that they did talk to each other in the mall. There's no evidence Neal and Mass ever knew each other.

Det. obtained Dews' phone records. He saw twitter messages posted by Dews on his phone. He took a photo of the messages. Dews', Witt's and Smith's vehicles were not searched.

Det. says Neal did not communicate with Mass in the mall and therefore did not provoke him. The scene outside was chaotic. Mass took off his hoodie, opened the car door, threw his hoodie in, and left the car door open. Mass' car was between himself and Neal. Neal could not see from Mass' chest down.

The phone records for Dews, Witt, and Smith were obtained by Tyler PD. Shine reviewed only Witt's records. Witt and Smith clearly knew each other at time of incident.

Det. not aware of a 19 minute phone convo from Witt's phone to Lashonda Dews.

Sometime after shooting, Witt and Dews were near main mall entrance.

Prosecution has begun to redirect Det. Shine.

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