Davonte’ Neal

Davonte’ Neal

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POCATELLO — Idaho State University assistant football coach DaVonte' Neal has been charged with felony first-degree murder in Arizona and the school intends to terminate his contract.

Neal has been charged with one count of first-degree murder, a class one felony, according to a copy of Neal's indictment obtained by the Idaho State Journal on Thursday evening. He also faces one count of drive by shooting, a class two felony, and one count of discharging a firearm at a structure, a class three felony.

The alleged incident occurred on Nov. 11, 2017 and the victim was Bryan Burns, the indictment shows.

Maricopa County Sheriff's Office deputies located Burns with a gunshot wound in a vehicle near an overpass on Interstate 10 in Tempe, Arizona, according to an ABC 15 story. Burns was transported to a hospital with life-threatening injuries, the story says, and died the following day.

Neal was indicted by a grand jury in Maricopa County on May 16.

He is currently incarcerated at the Bannock County Jail with no bond awaiting extradition back to Arizona.

Neal was arrested on an extradition warrant after Pocatello police were contacted by detectives in Maricopa County and asked if they could check on his location, Pocatello police said.

Pocatello police learned Neal was living at an apartment on the 100 block of South Union Pacific Avenue and on May 25 waited there until he left the apartment and entered a vehicle, police said, adding that a traffic stop was conducted on the vehicle. Neal was subsequently arrested without further incident.

ISU confirmed in an email Wednesday evening that Neal has been placed on administrative leave and the school has initiated proceedings to terminate his contract.

Neal no longer appears on the ISU football roster on the school's website. 

"I have been in constant contact with (ISU head coach Charlie 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 told the Journal via text. "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 resolution for all involved."

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

ISU also ran a background check on Neal before hiring him, which came back clean, the school said in a Thursday news release.

"All Idaho State employees are required to undergo a criminal background check before employment," ISU said in the release. "Neal’s background check was clear and he was approved for work when hired in January. The warrant for his arrest was issued in Arizona by the Maricopa County Court last month."

Neal joined the Bengals' team in January as a defensive backs coach with the rest of the team's new coaching staff. He previously played under Ragle at Chaparral High School in Scottsdale, Arizona, where Neal became a four-star athlete and went to Notre Dame before transferring to the University of Arizona. ISU was the first college coaching position for Neal, who had left his job as an assistant at Higley High in Gilbert, Arizona, to join the Bengals.

Idaho State Journal reporter Shelbie Harris to this report.

Greg Woods is a sports reporter at the Idaho State Journal. Follow him on Twitter at GregWWoods.

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