On March 10, 2005, Neal, 37, was getting a manicure at T'Nails and Hair Salon on 4369 Florida Boulevard in Baton Rouge prior to a weekend tour in Alabama. At 6:00 P.M. White entered the crowded shop and calmly talked to Neal before leaving without incident. He returned ten minutes laters, however, fired a shot from a .45-caliber revolver into the ceiling, and yelled "Get the fuck out of here!" During the mass exodus out the front door, White shot customer Angela Myers, who survived the attack. Neal, now alone with White in the shop, was not so fortunate. The singer's estranged lover shot her three times, laid on her body, then shot himself in the chest. Neal was pronounced dead at the scene while White, briefly hospitalized under police guard, survived and was charged with first-degree murder (Neal) and attempted murder (Myers).
As the killer recuperated in hospital with a cop posted outside the door of his room, Baton Rouge said goodbye to a performer many felt was just beginning to be recognized as a major talent. Nearly 3,000 mourners thronged Neal's funeral service in the Great Hall at the Bellemont where the singer, her lips and eyelids painted red and her hair close-cropped on the sides and spiked on top, lay in state for hours. The massive turnout led one family member to comment, "I just wish they could have turned up for her like that while she was living. If she could have had this much love when she was living, how great would that be?" Neal was buried in Roselawn Memorial Park and Mausoleum.
|Photo: William Tatum|