Jury selection is scheduled to start this afternoon in the murder trial of Ricky Neal Jr. in the Smith County 7th District Court.
Neal, 26, of Tyler, is accused in the shooting death of 23-year-old Chris Mass in February, and faces up to life in prison if he is convicted. Judge Kerry Russell said in court he is attending a funeral this morning and the jury selection will begin at 1 p.m. The trial is expected to last four to five days. Defense attorneys are F.R. "Buck" Files and Brett Harrison. Prosecutor is Chris Gatewood.
During a pre-trial hearing, prosecutors and defense announced they were ready to begin. Neal, who has been in the Smith County jail since Feb. 9 on bonds totaling $1.25 million, is accused of fatally shooting Mass at the Broadway Square Mall. A tweet that Tyler police said Neal sent to another man’s girlfriend sparked an altercation that preceded the shooting.