Neldon Neal, who eluded authorities for 62 days in a 2007 murder investigation of his wife, will stand trial a second time beginning this week.
Neal, whose conviction of voluntary manslaughter in the death was overturned in February, is charged with involuntary manslaughter by Texas County Prosecutor Michael Anderson, according to court documents. The case is set for a trial jury through Wednesday in Morgan County. Juror selection begins today.
Neal, 64, led area lawmen on a 62-day manhunt after allegedly killing his wife in their Roby home. He was charged with second-degree murder and found guilty of voluntary manslaughter. Neal received a 30-year sentence.
But the conviction was overturned earlier this year when the Court of Appeals said there was “no heat of passion” in the argument between Neal and his wife, Judy, in the moments leading to her shooting death. The court said the jury should not have been given that instruction.
At trial, the state argued the evidence showed Neal had intentionally killed his wife. Neal’s defense – led by lawyers Brendon Fox and John Beger of Rolla – was that her death was an unfortunate accident caused when his wife jumped on him and struggled for control of a gun he had taken from her during an argument. The court agreed with Neal’s lawyers that since the jury had not found Neal guilty of second-degree murder, it was essentially a finding of not guilty. The court said it would be double jeopardy to remand the case for trial on that charge. Also, the court said the state had failed to prove a necessary element of voluntary manslaughter, he could not be retried on it.
The case was remanded for the state to proceed on involuntary manslaughter if it chose to do so. It did. Anderson filed charges June 8.
Neal, who is incarcerated in Jefferson City, earlier received a 17-year federal sentencing for possessing a weapon as a felon.