Texas man appears before judge following fatal mall shooting

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

File photo of a Smith and Wesson handgun.
Image: David Grenier.

Ricky Neal, Jr. appeared before a judge on Monday at 3:00pm CST following his alleged role in the shooting death of 23 year-old Chris Mass at a shopping mall in Tyler, Texas on Saturday.

Police say Neal killed the former high school basketball and football star in the mall's parking lot, after arguing with him in a store located inside the mall. The argument appeared to have centered around some "Tweets" sent via the popular social networking site Twitter.

Reports also indicate Neal faces an assault charge after police say he shot at Jonathan Dews of Tyler during the incident, but missed. Bail was set at US$1.25 million for Neal. Early reports indicated Neal and the victim had been involved in an additional altercation before Saturday.

During Neal's court appearance, the judge appointed local attorney O.M. "Buddy" Lloyd to represent Neal as his public defender. Neal told the judge he was unable to afford to pay an attorney. Neal was actually employed at the Champ's sporting goods store inside the mall where the argument began, but reportedly he was there as a customer at the time the argument began.