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A 25-year-old Arizonian has been identified as the man allegedly killed by Idaho State University assistant football coach DaVonte’ Neal in 2017. Neal has been charged with multiple felonies.


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Idaho State University assistant football coach DaVonte’ Neal was arrested on multiple felony charges, including first-degree murder.

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A 25-year-old Arizonian has been identified as the man allegedly killed by Idaho State University assistant football coach DaVonte’ Neal in 2017, according to an indictment obtained by the Idaho Statesman.

Neal, who joined the Bengals earlier this year, is awaiting extradition to Maricopa County, where Phoenix is located, on three charges: first-degree murder, drive-by shooting and discharge of a weapon at a structure, according to a news release from the Pocatello Police Department, who arrested Neal late last month.

A May 16 indictment said a Maricopa County grand jury accused Neal of three felonies in connection with the killing of Bryan Burns. The Idaho State Journal first reported on the charges.

According to the indictment, released by the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office, Neal is accused of knowingly killing Burns or committing a drive-by shooting that resulted in Burns’ death.

Additional details on the alleged murder have been scarce. The Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office declined to comment further on the investigation and directed the Statesman to submit a public record request for the police report tied to the shooting. The Statesman submitted a request Thursday.

ABC15, a television station in Phoenix, reported on the alleged murder in 2017. ABC15 said Burns was found shot inside a vehicle in Tempe — a city just east of Phoenix that houses Arizona State University’s largest campus — on Nov. 11, 2017, and succumbed to his life-threatening injuries at a local hospital.

Burns was born in Grand Rapids, Michigan, according to an obituary. After a year at Kentucky State University, he moved to Phoenix, where he attended classes at Mesa Community College, the obituary said.

“Bryan (Burns) will be remembered for his bigger than life smile, a great sense of humor, freedom of spirit,” the obituary said. “He is a beloved son, brother, grandson, and family member who will be missed.”

Neal was arrested after Arizona authorities advised local law enforcement of the warrant, which was issued May 16, according to the news release from Pocatello police. As of Friday morning, he was in custody at the Bannock County Jail without bond, according to online court records.

ISU football head coach: ‘not a good look for our program’

In a Wednesday news release, Idaho State University said Neal was placed on leave and is “no longer a part of ISU’s football program.” The process to terminate Neal’s employment contract has already begun, according to the university, but he will remain on leave until that is finalized, which the university said should happen “quickly.”

“Idaho State takes all allegations involving our employees very seriously, and we are committed to the safety and well-being of our community,” Idaho State University President Kevin Satterlee said in the release. “We are fully cooperating with law enforcement on their investigation.”

All ISU employees must undergo a criminal background check before employment, the release said. Neal’s background check was clear when he joined the university in January to be cornerbacks coach as a member of new head coach Charlie Ragle’s staff.

“I have been in constant contact with Coach Ragle, who has known DaVonte’ for many years and never had any knowledge or suspicion of a possible crime of any kind,” ISU athletic director Pauline Thiros said in the release. “The news of DaVonte’ Neal’s arrest and charges in Arizona was a great shock. Going forward, we will cooperate in every way possible, safeguard our program and culture, support each other and our students, and allow the legal process to work. The news is devastating, and we hope for a resolution for all involved.”

Neal was a cornerback for the Arizona Wildcats from 2013 to 2015, according to the University of Arizona’s website.

During a Thursday press conference, Ragle said he’d known Neal since Neal was 16 as Ragle coached the two-time Arizona Gatorade Player of the Year at Chaparral High School in Scottsdale, Arizona, and later at UArizona.

“I’ve watched him grow and I believed he was ready for this opportunity to better his career and his life,” Ragle said during the press conference, which was posted on Twitter by Idaho State Journal reporter Greg Woods. “I understand that this is not a good look for our program. Nobody understands that more than me.”

After Neal graduated high school, he took a detour to Notre Dame for a season before heading back to Arizona to join the Wildcats during the 2013 season. Ragle joined the coaching staff the previous season, according to the university’s website.

The allegations were “devastating for everybody involved,” Ragle said Thursday.

“Now we must sit back and let the wheels of justice take its course,” he said.

Reporter Ryan Suppe contributed.

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Alex Brizee covers breaking news and crime for the Idaho Statesman. A Miami native and a University of Idaho graduate, she has lived all over the United States. Go Vandals! In her free time, she loves pad Thai, cuddling with her dog and strong coffee.
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