Idaho State assistant coach DaVonte’ Neal was arrested on May 25 and has been charged with first-degree murder.
Neal was arrested in Pocatello, Idaho, after police there received a tip from Maricopa County, Arizona, police asking about his whereabouts. Neal had been connected to a murder on Nov. 11, 2017, in Maricopa County.
Pocatello police learned Neal was living at an apartment on the 100 block of South Union Pacific Avenue and waited there until he left the apartment and entered a vehicle, said police, adding that a traffic stop was conducted on the vehicle. Neal was subsequently arrested without further incident.
The school’s athletic director Pauline Thiros said in a text message to the newspaper that Neal would no longer be on the team’s staff. He was hired as the team's defensive backs coach in January and passed a school background check.
"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."
In addition to a charge of first-degree murder, Neal is facing a felony drive-by shooting charge and a felony charge of shooting at a building.
Neal was hired by new Idaho State coach Charlie Ragle this offseason. The FCS school hired Ragle from California after he spent five seasons as the team’s special teams coordinator.
Neal signed with Notre Dame as a four-star wide receiver recruit out of Arizona in 2012. He transferred to the University of Arizona in 2013 and switched to defensive back in 2015 with the Wildcats. Neal’s playing career at Arizona overlapped with Ragle’s time at Arizona from 2013-16 when he coached the Wildcats’ special teams. Before being hired by Idaho State, Neal coached high school football in Arizona.