Man gets life in prison sentence

Published on Tuesday, 13 May 2014 22:51 - Written by Staff Reports

A man who gunned down another man in the Broadway Square Mall parking lot after a dispute that started on Twitter was sentenced Tuesday to life in prison.

 A jury sentenced Ricky Neal Jr., 30, to life in prison for the Feb. 9, 2013, shooting that killed Chapel Hill football standout Chris Mass, 23.

Neal shot Mass after a Twitter argument with third man. 

Neal claimed that he felt threatened and was afraid Mass was armed, though he did not see a gun.

The argument began when Neal and another man got into an altercation on Twitter and it escalated to the shooting. 

The two men met in the mall Feb. 9 by chance, and as tempers flared, Neal and John Dews made their way into the parking lot to fight. 

When Neal saw Mass and another man follow Dews outside, he asked if he was going to be jumped by all of the men. 

Dews said he told Neal it would just be a two-person fight. 

Moments later, Neal reached into his vehicle, pulled a handgun and began shooting. 

Mass was pronounced dead at the scene.