EXCLUSIVE: Juror from Ricky Neal murder trial breaks silence

EXCLUSIVE: Juror from Ricky Neal murder trial breaks silence

TYLER (KYTX) -  One of the jurors from the Ricky Neal, Jr. murder trial talks about his intense experience and tough decisions.

He sat down exclusively with CBS 19's Courtney Friedman, who has been covering that trial for weeks.

He says because this was a murder trial, he wishes to remain anonymous.

It was a murder trial that lasted almost three weeks, and by the end, 12 jurors had convicted 26-year-old Ricky Neal, Jr. of murder, and sentenced him to life in prison.  

Arriving at those decisions was not easy. Take it from one of those 12 people.

"It was extremely overwhelming. The magnitude of the crime, the nature of it, and the age of the people involved."

This jury took more than nine hours to decide on a guilty verdict.  

"We had a phenomenal jury," he says. "Everybody cared. Nobody just wanted to throw in the towel and say this guy's guilty. We took and reviewed every single piece of evidence that was there. That includes interviews with the defendent, Ricky Neal, that were about five hours by themselves."

After all evidence had been weighed, the group came to a decision.  

"He was guilty beyond a shadow of a doubt," the juror says. 

The week after, the jury decided on a life sentence, which was equally as hard.  

"The burden of knowing the decision we had to come up with, and knowing that there was another life taken."

He says there was a lot of arguing, but the debates never became disrespectful.

"How emotional was this for you?" we asked him.

"Very emotional for everybody on the jury panel. Especially when Christopher Mass's mother took the stand. It was very difficult. Just the clear understanding that the life was taken and he was young, and he was in his 20's. He had a baby girl, and then he had a baby boy that he never got to see, born on Father's Day."

We asked if he felt he made the right decision: 

"Yeah absolutely. Without a doubt," he said.

Now, the next task is to get back to daily life.

"I wont ever forget it," he says. "I'll move on. I'm a combat veteran so you learn how to move on from things that are heavy like that."
He says he will respect his fellow jurors for the rest of his life.

"We have a great country and a great judicial system and it works as long as people are willing to take the time and do their civic duty like we all did."

During the trial, the jury was sequestered twice, meaning their cell phones were taken and they were put up in a hotel where they could not have access to television, social media, or anything that would sway their opinions about the case.  This juror says it was difficult to be away from family, but says it was an honor to serve on a dedicated jury like this.  


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