First day of testimony wraps up in trial of accused Tyler mall s - | Lufkin and Nacogdoches, Texas

First day of testimony wraps up in trial of accused Tyler mall shooter

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Ricky Neal, Jr. (Smith County Jail) Ricky Neal, Jr. (Smith County Jail)
Jonathan Dews took the stand on Wednesday as the prosecution's first witness. Jonathan Dews took the stand on Wednesday as the prosecution's first witness.

The trial of Ricky Neal Jr., resumed Wednesday. Neal is the Tyler man accused of shooting and killing Christopher Mass in the parking lot of the Broadway Square Mall.

The morning began with the state calling their first witness, Jonathon Dews. Dews, a John Tyler High School graduate, said he got into a verbal altercation with Neal over a tweet Neal sent to Dews’ wife. Dews said he then followed Neal out of the mall to fight with him because Neal had provoked him. Outside, he saw Neal point a gun at Christopher Mass, the deceased victim in this case. He said he saw Mass fall to the ground and as he ran away from Neal, he saw Neal point a gun at him and shoot three or four more times.

Neal's defense attorney, Thad Davidson, began his cross examination of Dews. Dews admitted he is a convicted felon and on parole for manufacture and delivery of a controlled substance. At that point, a visibly-upset audience member had an outburst, left the courtroom followed out by several others.

Dews went on to say that during the verbal altercation in the mall, Neal told him, "You don't know me. I don't know you. We're gonna keep it that way."

Dews said he asked Neal what he was talking about and Neal said, "I'm gonna show you about me."

Dews said it was at this point that Neal walked out of the mall and motioned for Dews to follow him.

Dews stated he went outside "to go fight Ricky Neal." Two other men, including Christopher Mass, followed him out. Dews said Neal told him, "You should've come out here by yourself."

Later in the day, the prosecutor and defense attorney argued about the nature of a hand gesture made by Dews in a surveillance video. The defense claimed Dews was making a "stop" gesture and the prosecution disagreed. The judge ruled that there was no evidence in the video showing that and forbid the defense from mentioning it.

Dews testified that while in the mall parking lot, he saw Mass take off his hoodie and put it in his car. He stated Mass was standing by his car with his arms crossed. Dews stated he walked towards Neal because he was "trying to fight him." He the saw Neal pull out a gun.

Dews told Neal, "It's not that type of party," and ran away. Dews stated he ran, dropped his jacket before falling down, then ran into the mall, where he called 911.

The trial will resume Thursday morning.

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