A Smith County district judge appointed an attorney Monday to represent a 25-year-old Tyler man accused in the shooting death of another man in the Broadway Square Mall parking lot on Saturday.
Neal, who is being held in the Smith County Jail on $1.25 million bonds, allegedly shot and killed Chris Mass, 23, on Saturday. A tweet that police said Neal sent to another man's girlfriend sparked an altercation that led up to the shooting.
The defendant signed a pauper's oath in court, declaring he had no money, owned no real estate and did not have a car.
Neal told Russell that he just started working at Champs Sports store when the shooting happened and was making $6.25 an hour, plus commissions. “Where had you worked before that?” Russell asked.
“Two of your children get SSI?” Russell asked of Neal, referring to supplemental Social Security payments. “Yes sir,” Neal responded.
On Saturday, there was a physical altercation between Neal and another man at the mall after it was discovered that Neal sent a tweet to another man's girlfriend. The two met in the Champs Sports store in the mall, where Neal had gone to buy new shoes.
Martin said the men began arguing and decided to take the confrontation outside.
“Neal returned to his vehicle and told his girlfriend to go in the mall to purchase his shoes. As the other subjects approached Neal, he pulled out a .40-caliber handgun from his vehicle and fired several rounds at three subjects that were approaching him,” Martin said.
Martin said Mass was struck twice and died from his injuries at the scene. The other two men fled and were not injured in the shooting. When asked whether the shooting could be defined as self-defense, Martin said that it did not appear to be the case, because no other weapons were found at the scene.
A witness at the scene said Mass was only involved because he was trying to keep things fair.
Staff writer Kenneth Dean contributed to this report.