Little Rock parolee gets life term for killing his fiancee in ’20
A blind and crippled Little Rock man who mentioned he fatally stabbed his fiancee as a result of he mistakenly thought she was an attacking intruder was sentenced to life in jail Thursday night time after a Pulaski County jury dominated over the 63-year-old’s self-defense claims parole officer and located him responsible of first-degree homicide.
A life sentence was the one sentence Pulaski County District Judge Karen Whatley might hand down as a result of Rickey Lewis Neal was thought-about a repeat violent offender with a felony report courting again to 1976 and convictions of rape, armed theft, false imprisonment and manslaughter consists of and home violence. This is the seventh time he has been sentenced to jail.
During Neal’s two-day trial, there was by no means a query that he killed Alice Faye Cawley of Little Rock in a Christmas Eve 2020 assault on the couple’s resort room throughout the road from the North Little Rock Police Department.
Police discovered the 58-year-old mom of two lifeless, stabbed 11 occasions, on the bottom with a blood-stained Neal sitting subsequent to her. Neal instructed police he lower them as a result of he thought an intruder had been in the room with them.
The jury, made up of 9 males and three girls, needed to determine why Neal killed her. Defense attorneys Leslie Borgognoni and Andrew Thornton referred to as Cawley’s dying a tragic accident, as Neal has at all times claimed. The attorneys produced no proof for Neal and he didn’t testify.
The jury might have convicted Neal of lesser fees akin to manslaughter, second-degree homicide or involuntary manslaughter, however Borgognoni and Thornton argued he needs to be discovered harmless on grounds of self-defense, as he thought he was defending the late-night intruder .
Neal had cause to concern an assault, it mentioned. Diabetes has left him virtually fully blind whereas forcing the amputation of his decrease left leg, limiting him to utilizing a walker or wheelchair.
Cawley additionally woke him to say she heard somebody messing together with her door moments after she noticed an odd man lurking in her room, public defenders mentioned, citing Neal’s videotaped assertion to police , which was proven to the jury.
When Neal was abruptly grabbed from behind, he lashed out with his blade, not realizing he had stabbed Cawley till she collapsed, her lengthy hair brushing his physique, making him understand he had struck her, the protection mentioned .
Neal had instructed police Cawley was “his baby” who took higher care of him than his family, saying she had to assist him in the bathe and on the bathroom. They had turn into engaged shortly earlier than her dying.
But the jury sided with prosecutors Jeanna Sherrill and Justin Harper, who mentioned Neal killed Cawley on goal as a result of she left him. The sample of Cawley’s wounds – six on her again, together with 4 deep sufficient to pierce her lung, one on her chest and the others on her arms – confirmed she had been restrained through the assault, they mentioned.
And whereas Neal could also be blind, his listening to is sweet sufficient to listen to Cawley scream in ache as he repeatedly slashed her with the blade, they mentioned.
She’d additionally referred to as a good friend twice to select her up that night time, and on her second name — a voicemail the good friend missed — indicated that she wanted to get out rapidly as a result of Neal was going to kill her, prosecutors mentioned. Cawley’s strolling stick was discovered exterior the resort room and confirmed that she had tried to get out, they mentioned.
But what prosecutors referred to as probably the most damning proof of Neal’s intentions was discovered in his pockets by police: the engagement ring he had given her simply weeks earlier. The jury deliberated roughly 54 minutes to seek out Neal responsible as charged.
The situation outlined by prosecutors and Neal’s declare of harming a lady he beloved after mistaking her for an attacker mirrors the final time he was sentenced to 25 years in jail for home violence after a jury trial in 2015 second diploma and a felony escape of beating a lady bloody by hitting her with a damaged pistol and an ornamental seashell.
The spouse, Little Rock’s Betty Frazier, testified that Neal’s mood tantrums turned violent when she broke off their engagement simply earlier than Christmas 2013. Neal responded by attacking her, first with the gun, then with the decorative shell. One of her tooth was knocked out, and he or she sustained a 4-inch laceration on her head that bled so profusely that it left a path from her Little Rock residence to the neighbor’s home throughout the road, the place she went for assist.
Neal, who had neither misplaced his sight nor his leg, instructed jurors he fell asleep ingesting in the couple’s mattress, solely to be crushed in the darkish with his legs and arms tied and with somebody he could not see.
Neal mentioned he broke free and fought again, not realizing Frazier was his attacker till he turned on the bed room gentle. He instructed jurors he by no means hit her with something however his arms and that he tried to assist her when he noticed she was injured, however she ran from him.
Neal additionally denied asking Frazier to marry him, saying he cared for her after residing together with her however beloved his spouse extra. He instructed the jury he fled from the police as a result of he knew the officers would by no means consider him.
The jury acquitted Neal of aggravated theft for taking Frazier’s automobile to flee police, a verdict that spared him a life sentence on account of his repeat offender standing.
The 25-year sentence required Neal to serve at the least 4 years earlier than he might qualify for parole. He was eligible for parole in September 2020, about 18 months after he first certified for parole in March 2019.
Court data present that Neal’s felony report started roughly three months earlier than his 18th birthday.
Neal was sentenced to 10 years in jail in 1977 for the armed theft of 4 males adopted by the alleged rape and theft of a lady on Gaines Street in Little Rock every week later in September 1976.
In January 1992, 33-year-old Neal was convicted of manslaughter for the September 1991 taking pictures of 16-year-old Billy Brunson Jr. on the 1700 block of West fifteenth Street. The jury diminished the cost to first-degree homicide.
He was sentenced in August 1996 to 45 years for false imprisonment and felon possession of a firearm for kidnapping his first spouse, Deborah Anne Morgan Neal, in March 1995 after stalking and forcing her at their Sweet Home residence to go together with him . They had been married for 9 months.
Neal pleaded responsible to second-degree battery in August 2004 in trade for a nine-year sentence for slitting the throat of Darrell Profit, now 52, a fellow inmate on the Wrightsville Prison Unit.
He was sentenced to 5 years in jail in June 2008 on fees of aggravated assault and terrorism threats after being arrested in December 2007 for trying to run over his spouse for 9 months at 4112 W. twenty fourth St. in Little Rock. Louberta Neal mentioned he hit and punched her and tried to set her garments on hearth in the entrance yard. He was married to Neal when he beat up Frazier.