Ricky Neal, Jr. appeared in court Tuesday. (Source: KLTV Staff)
TYLER, TX (KLTV) -
Tuesday morning, Ricky Neal, Jr., was sentenced to life in prison. Neal was convicted of the murder of 23-year-old Chapel Hill graduate Christopher Mass. Neal shot Mass in the parking lot of the mall in Tyler back in February 2013. This trial was delayed several times over the last year.
Christopher Mass' mother, Latrese Mass, says this past year has been the hardest of her life.
“We are relieved,” she said, “[and] we are happy that it's finally over. Chris can now rest in peace and we can try to move forward with our lives.”
Latrese Mass says although she's been through so much, she wants her son's death to be a lesson for others.
“Just be careful of your decisions because your decisions can impact everybody. Even Ricky [Neal’s] children need to know that you make a bad decision and these are the consequences,” she advised.
Latrese says she has a message for Neal’s family.
“All I can say to them is to just stay prayerful… the way that they're going to get their strength is through God. That's where we got ours,” she said.
Last week, Latrese testified that her son's death destroyed her family. Now she says she's just thankful for some closure.
“Thank you to God for keeping us strong and getting us through it because it was hard," she said. "It's been a hard year. It was even harder the last three weeks.”
Ricky Neal’s defense attorney said Neal will appeal the case. He said Neal has 30 days from today to file that appeal.