Witness testimony began Wednesday in the case against Ricky Neal Jr., who authorities said gunned down former Chapel Hill football standout Chris Mass after an altercation that began on Twitter.
John Dews told the jury on the morning of Feb 9, 2013, he had gone to Broadway Square Mall to purchase some new Air Jordans that were being released that day.
While waiting, Dews said he met up with several acquaintances and then decided to wait at Chick Fil A until the store opened.
Dews said during his wait, a man he had an encounter with a few weeks earlier, came up to him and stood over him.
Dews said the man was Ricky Neal Jr., and that he and Neal had words on the social media site Twitter about Dews’ wife.
According to testimony, Dews told Neal to mind his own business, even though he did not know Neal.
Dews testified he and Neal got into a verbal altercation, and Neal egged him to come outside the mall to fight, so he followed Neal and was followed by Chris Mass and another man.
“I was walking out the door to go fight,” Dews said.
Dews said Neal asked if Dews and Mass were going to jump him when he saw the other man, and Dews said he replied that he was there to fight.
But Neal grabbed a gun and pointed it at Mass, Dews testified.
“I told him it wasn’t that kind of party and started to back away from Neal, but he started shooting,” Dews said. “I saw Chris fall, and I just started running toward the vehicles at the main entrance.”
Dews testified when Neal started shooting at Mass, his arms were crossed.
Dews acknowledged that he had been in prison for delivery of a controlled substance, and the Twitter disagreement was a result of Neal asking Dews’ wife why she was still with Dews.
Defense attorney Thad Davidson represents Neal while the prosecution is being led by Smith County Assistant District Attorneys Jeff Wood and Brian Jiral.