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NEWS RELEASE

OFFICE OF THE UNITED STATES ATTORNEY

WESTERN DISTRICT OF MISSOURI


JOHN F. WOOD


Contact Don Ledford, Public Affairs ● (816) 426-4220 ● 400 East Ninth Street, Room 5510 ● Kansas City, MO 64106

www.usdoj.gov/usao/mow/index.html


AUGUST 20, 2008

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE


TEXAS COUNTY MAN SENTENCED TO 16 YEARS

FOR ILLEGAL FIREARMS


FATALLY SHOT WIFE DURING ARGUMENT,

ARRESTED AFTER TWO-MONTH MANHUNT


            SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – John F. Wood, United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, announced that a Houston, Mo., man who fatally shot his wife was sentenced in federal court today for illegally possessing firearms.


            Neldon Neal, 62, of Houston, 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 currently serving for unrelated state charges.


            On May 9, 2008, 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, Mo., in response to a report of an individual who had been shot. 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. During the argument, 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 in Laclede County, Mo. 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, Mo., Sheriff’s Department.


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This news release, as well as additional information about the office of the United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, is available on-line at

www.usdoj.gov/usao/mow/index.html