UPDATE: Attorney appointed for mall shooting suspect

UPDATE: TYLER (KYTX) - 25-year-old Ricky Neal Junior was called to court for the first time Monday afternoon.

He's accused of shooting and killing 23-year-old Chris Mass Saturday morning at the Broadway Square Mall in Tyler. Police say it all started over a tweet on the social networking site Twitter.

Neal did not make a plea today. Judge Russell with the 7th district court called him in Monday to determine whether he needed the court to appoint him a lawyer.

An emotional Ricky Neal Jr. walked out of Judge Russell's courtroom. He was there to let the judge know he could not afford his own attorney.

"So do you want to have the court consider finding you an attorney?" Judge Russell asked.

"Yes sir," Neal said.

He sniffled as he filled out paperwork, listing his expenses.

Judge Russell held records in his hand as he said, "Shows you're not married but you're supporting 7 children ?"

"That's right," Neal said.

Neal raised his right hand and swore the information on the paperwork was true.

"You have no money at home, no money in the bank, no ones holding anything for you?" Judge Russell asked.

"No sir," Neal said.

After several more questions, Judge Russell approved the forms and appointed OW Buddy Lloyd to Neal's case.

Earlier in the day, Tyler Police also updated the charges against Neal. He is still charged with murder, but now, also with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, for shooting at 30-year-old Jonathan Dews.

At the scene Saturday, Dews' wife describes what her husband told her over the phone, as he ran from Ricky Neal's gunfire.

"They shooting at me! They shooting at me and Chris! I'm like who, who? He said, they're shooting, I'm ducking behind cars!" LaShaunda Dews said.

The bullets missed Jonathan Dews and another man, who police are not naming right now because he is listed as a witness. They both walked away from the scene unharmed.

23-year-old Chris Mass, was shot twice, and died. He leaves behind a four-year-old daughter, Chrislyn.

Ricky Neal Junior will soon have another appointed court date, to put in his plea.

Earlier today a CBS 19 crew went to a Tyler address listed as Neal's address to talk to family members, but no one was home.

Neal does have a history with the Smith County Jail. He has been there several times before, but never for charges as serious as the ones he faces now. The majority of his jail time was because of unpaid child support bills



UPDATE: TYLER (TYLER MORNING TELEGRAPH) - The man police say shot and killed a former Chapel Hill High School basketball and football star is scheduled to make his initial appearance in court today.

District Judge Kerry Russell's office told the Tyler Morning Telegraph this morning that 25-year-old Ricky Neal Jr., will be in court today at 3 p.m. for his first scheduled appearance before the judge.

Neal has been charged with the Saturday shooting death of 23-year-old Chris Mass at Broadway Square Mall after a confrontation in Champs Shoe store shortly after 9 a.m.

Champs had opened early because the new Michael Jordan shoe was on sale.

Neal and Jonathan Lamone Dews began arguing in the store over Twitter tweets Neal had been sending Dews' girlfriend.

Tyler Police Spokesperson Don Martin did not know the specifics of the tweets, but said the two men had been in a physical altercation prior to Saturday. When they met at the mall, the confrontation intensified.

Neal remains jailed on murder and aggravated assault charges after he allegedly shot Mass and fired at Dews.

Martin said the investigation at this time does not indicate that Neal acted in self defense, because he agreed to a fight and then pulled a gun out on Mass, Dews and another man.

Martin also said there were no other weapons found at the scene beside the .40-caliber handgun Neal used to fire multiple rounds.

Ricky Neal Jr. was placed into the Smith County Jail for Murder, 1st degree felony, $750,000 bond and Aggravated Assault with a Deadly Weapon, a 2nd degree Felony, $500,000 bond.




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