Estranged husband is accused of shooting wife in Arlington

Woman’s divorce papers were filed in a Tarrant County court Thursday, the same day she died

Star-Telegram staff writers

ARLINGTON — While Stovyne Neal lay dying Thursday morning at Harris Methodist Fort Worth Hospital, her divorce papers were winding their way through the Tarrant County legal system.

And her husband, Ronald Lloyd Neal, was in custody, accused of forcing his way inside their south Arlington home at about 7 a.m. and fatally shooting her while her 7- and 10-year-old sons and their elderly grandfather, Anthony Magee, were nearby, a relative said.

Police said one of the children called 911 shortly after Ronald Neal, 32, showed up with a gun.

Both the children and the grandfather escaped before police arrived and were not injured, police said.

Ronald Neal fired at least two shots at tactical officers who broke through the front door and mounted a rescue operation near the end of a three-hour standoff, officials said. Officers determined that Ronald Neal’s handgun had its slide locked back and was out of ammunition. Police took him into custody without firing a shot, authorities said.

Hostage negotiators had tried to talk with Ronald Neal for at least two hours, but could not determine the condition of Stovyne Neal, 30. She and Neal had been married 16 months.

“She was a sweet person and a hardworking person, and she was trying to go to school and work,” said Stovyne Neal’s mother, Glodine Allen, 62, of Waco. “She had put in for her divorce on Monday, and that’s why he killed her.”

Ronald Neal was booked into the Arlington Jail on suspicion of murder in the death of his wife and two counts of attempted capital murder in connection with the shots fired at police officers, officials said. No officers were injured. Bail had not been set.

Emergency medical personnel worked on Stovyne Neal in her front yard before she was taken by helicopter to Harris. She died about 10:30 a.m., according to the Tarrant County medical examiner’s office.

“I was watching from my upstairs window,” said Shelly Medina, 24, who lives down the street from the Neal house in the 600 block of Cunningham Drive. “I saw police carry her out and try to use CPR to bring her back. Then they lifted her into an ambulance.”

Court records show that Stovyne Neal’s petition for divorce was filed Thursday morning in Tarrant County’s 324th District Court. She cited reasons of marital discord or conflict of personalities for the split. The divorce petition says Ronald Neal is not the father of the children.

On hearing about her client’s death, Stovyne Neal’s attorney, Conswella Edwards, started to cry.

“Tell me what you’re saying is not true,” she said.

At the time of the shooting, Ronald. Neal was in the middle of serving a 90-day probationary sentence for assaulting his wife in December.

On March 10, he was placed on 90-days deferred probation in connection with a Dec. 19 arrest for assault. He was accused of throwing his wife to the floor, then spraying Lysol in her face as he straddled her, court documents said. Had Ronald Neal completed the probationary period without getting into trouble with police, the conviction would have been wiped off the books, according to an official with the Tarrant County district attorney’s office.

Stovyne Neal’s brother, Kevin Wesley, said his sister was a good person trying to take care of her family while working in the Kindred Hospital business office.

Her two sons are with their maternal grandmother, Wesley said. The family will try to arrange for counseling to help the children, Wesley said. “She was trying to make her marriage work, and she just finally got tired of trying,” Wesley said. “She didn’t deserve this.”

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