Man on trial for mall shooting says he acted in self defense - | Lufkin and Nacogdoches, Texas

Man on trial for mall shooting says he acted in self defense

Neal's girlfriend testifies. (Source: Pool video) Neal's girlfriend testifies. (Source: Pool video)
SMITH COUNTY, TX (KLTV) - The trial for the Tyler man accused of shooting and killing another man outside the Broadway Square Mall could wrap up by May 7, 2014.

Ricky Neal, Jr., has been on trial since April 29. Neal is charged with the February 2013 murder of 23-year-old Christopher Mass of Chapel Hill.

Thursday, Neal's girlfriend, Tamara Norris, was called to the stand to talk about the morning of the shooting. She told the jury she was going to work and Neal was going to a funeral, but first, she says, they headed to the mall together to pickup a pair of new Jordan tennis shoes.

"He goes in... he was in there for a few minutes and he comes out. He gets back to the car, he comes to the passenger side, he opens the door, he hands me my debit card and he tells me to go in and get the shoes," Norris explained.

Norris testified that she could tell Neal was upset, but didn't know why. Norris said, she spotted the victim, Christopher Mass, in the mall parking lot.

"I saw him take his hoodie off and throw it in his car," Norris recalled.

Norris told the jury she heard someone rack a gun and she took off.

"I ran inside the mall," Norris said.
"Why did you take off running?" asks prosecutor Jeff Wood.
"I heard a gun. I didn't know what as going to happen next," Norris replied.

Norris testified that she found a security guard and told him what was happening.
The security guard, Jonathan Fontenot, testified too.

"I go to push the door open and I hear shots," Fontenot said.

"Do you remember how many shots you heard?" asked prosecutor Brian Jiral.
"From my memory, I heard three." Fontenot replied.

Fontenot said he walked outside and saw Neal calmly standing in the parking lot.

"He didn't seem angry. It looked like he was on the phone calling for help," Fontenot recalled.

Fontenot, a military veteran with combat aid training, testified that he tried to save the victim.

"His airway was blocked from blood and debris from his mouth. So, at that point, I had to clear his airway," Fontenot testified.

Fontenot said two other people with medical experience tried to help too, but none of them could save Christopher Mass.

The forensic pathologist that performed Mass' autopsy told the jury that Mass had a total of four gunshot wounds. She said, two gunshot wounds were to the chest, one was to the face and another to the neck.

Late Thursday afternoon, a Tyler Police Detective presented a recorded interview with Neal to the jury. In that interview, Neal said he never intended to kill anyone and that he was acting in self-defense.

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