Ricky Neal Jr. found guilty of murder in fatal mall shooting - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

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Ricky Neal Jr. found guilty of murder in fatal mall shooting

Ricky Neal Jr. (Source: Smith County Jail) Ricky Neal Jr. (Source: Smith County Jail)
Ricky Neal Jr. was found guilty of murder on Wednesday morning in the fatal mall shooting that killed 23-year-old Christopher Mass in February 2013.

The jury began deliberating at 4:15 p.m. on Tuesday until after 11 p.m. before resuming deliberations on Wednesday morning. The jury announced they had a verdict just before 10:30 a.m.

Neal declined to testify in the trial, which began on April 29 and lasted for four days before the jury received the case. The jury was specifically asked to look at whether or not the case met self-defense laws.

In a police interview, Neal admitted to firing his gun, but claimed it was in self-defense. On Tuesday, Neal's attorney Thad Davidson said that Mass was also armed, but that weapon was never found.

"You have the right to defend yourself. You have the right to say, 'Hey i'm about to get killed. I can stop the threat,'" said Davidson. "That's what he did. He stopped the threat. The imminent threat that was about to make him extinct."

Assistant District Attorney Jeff Wood argued that a weapon was never found.

"Listen to that interview. You want to know how many times he said he didn't see a weapon? Thirteen. On anybody. This imaginary gun that Mr. Davidson wants to try to bring up is absolutely absurd. Gun ninjas don't just come and take guns," Wood said.

The sentencing phase of the trail began at 11 a.m. on Wednesday. The prosecution is asking for a life sentence for Neal, while the defense is asking for a sentence of 20 years or less.

Neal also faces an aggravated assault charge that stems from the same incident. According to an arrest affidavit, Neal and Jonathan Dews entered into an argument inside the mall over comments made on the social media website Twitter. Investigators said that fight eventually re-ignited in the parking lot, resulting in Neal shooting at, but missing, Dews.

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