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Idaho State football coach charged with murder

Idaho State University assistant football coach Davonte' Neal has been charged with felony first-degree murder in Arizona.
Credit: Bannock County Jail Photo

POCATELLO, Idaho — This article originally appeared in the the Idaho State Journal.

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.

Pocatello police say Neal has been charged with one count of first-degree murder, a class one felony; one count of drive by shooting, a class two felony; and one count of discharging a firearm at a structure, a class two felony. The alleged incident occurred on Nov. 11, 2017, police said.

Pocatello police say Neal was indicted by a grand jury in Maricopa County, Arizona, on May 16. The Idaho State Journal attempted to obtain a copy of the grand jury indictment against Neal on Thursday, but was told it has been sealed via judicial order.

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

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

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, police said, adding that a traffic stop was conducted on the vehicle. Neal was subsequently arrested without further incident.

Neal joined the team in January with the rest of the Bengals' new coaching staff. He was hired to coach the team's defensive backs.

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.”

In a release, ISU also indicated that before hiring Neal, the school ran a background check, which came back clean.

Neal 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 contributed to this report.

This article originally appeared in the Idaho State Journal, read more on idahostatejournal.com.

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