A Roby man who led authorities on a 62-day manhunt in 2007 after allegedly shooting his wife was sentenced today to more than 16 years in prison.
John F. Wood, U.S. attorney, said this evening that Neldon H. Neal, 62, was sentenced in federal court for illegally possessing firearms.
Neal was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Richard E. Dorr this morning to 16 years and eight months in federal prison without parole. The court ordered the federal sentence to be served consecutively to the sentence Neal is serving for unrelated state charges.
On May 9, Neal pleaded guilty to two counts of being a felon in possession of a firearm. Neal admitted that he was in possession of a Raven .25-caliber pistol on March 13, 2007, when he fatally shot his wife. Neal also admitted that he was in possession of an FIE .22-caliber revolver on May 12, 2007, when he was arrested.
On March 13, 2007, members of the Texas County Sheriff’s Department were dispatched to Walt’s Convenience Store in Roby in response to a report of a shooting. Upon arrival, they located Judy Lewis and quickly determined that she was dead. Witnesses stated that the victim and her husband, Neal, had engaged in an argument that quickly escalated. Wood said during the fight, both Lewis and Neal armed themselves with firearms. Neal was able to take possession of the pistol that had been in Lewis’ possession. That gun was subsequently discharged, striking Lewis in the chest. Neal left the scene before officers arrived.
In the weeks that followed, various law enforcement agencies launched a manhunt for Neal. On May 11, 2007, investigators with the Missouri State Highway Patrol located Neal in a remote area of forest along the Gasconade River in Laclede County. At the time of his apprehension, Neal was in possession of a .22-caliber revolver. Neal told officers that he had discarded the second weapon, a .25-caliber pistol, on top of a trailer. That firearm was later recovered.
Under federal law, it is illegal for anyone who has been convicted of a felony to be in possession of any firearm or ammunition. Neal has two prior felony convictions for unlawful use of a weapon, as well as felony convictions for robbery and false imprisonment.
This case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney James J. Kelleher. It was investigated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the Missouri State Highway Patrol and the Texas County Sheriff’s Department.