Victim's family upset by murder trial delay

Published on Tuesday, 25 February 2014 09:47 - Written by By COURTNEY FRIEDMAN, KYTX CBS19

The murder trial for accused Broadway Square Mall shooter Ricky Neal Jr. has been delayed once again in Tyler. Smith County Judicial documents show this is the eighth trial continuation.

Latrese Mass, the mother of Chriss Mass, the victim, has been told the only thing that can heal the pain of losing a child, is time. Yet ironically, time is what's making her pain worse.

"We've gone and gone and gone and it's like, when is it going to end? When is he finally going to go before a jury and we get justice for Chris?" Latrese Mass says.

It's been more than a year now since Mass was shot to death outside Tyler's Broadway Square Mall.

The man accused of killing Mass is 26-year-old Ricky Neal Jr. His trial was delayed yet again Monday, because he still had not hired a lawyer.

"We're here weeks and weeks and weeks and there is still no lawyer hired," Judge Kerry Russell said to Neal in court Monday morning.

Russell appointed Neal a lawyer, Tonda Curry. Since she's new to the case, Judge Russell granted her two months to prepare. He set the trial for April 28.

When Russell announced the delay, Latrese Mass's cries rang out through the courtroom. She says the hardest thing will be explaining it all to her son's 5-year-old daughter, Chrislynn.

"Yesterday we were watching TV and she said, 'I wish I was a fairy.' I said 'Why?' She said 'So I can get a magic wand and bring my daddy back."' Latrese said.

Latrese knows the trial won't bring her son back, but she says it will bring her much needed closure.

"It's so frustrating," she said. "When is this going to end? When is Chris finally going to be able to rest?"

She said she'll pray every day that the trial won't be delayed again, so that sooner than later, her pain will start to subside.  

In the beginning, Ricky Neal hired attorneys Buck Files and Brett Harrison. However, on Jan. 31, the two filed a motion to withdraw as counsel. Russell approved it soon after.  

Neal is allowed to hire another lawyer who can switch out with Curry, but the bottom line is time is running out.  Judge Russell does not plan on delaying this trial again.

Neal remains in the Smith County Jail.