Assistant football coach at Idaho State Univ. arrested over 2017 murder in Arizona

An assistant college football coach in Idaho was placed on leave this week and will likely be fired after he was arrested and charged with multiple felonies including first-degree murder.

Davonte’ Neal, an assistant coach at Idaho State University, has been charged with a murder that occurred in Arizona in 2017, the Daily Wire reported.

Neal was arrested in Idaho this week and is currently being held in custody while awaiting extradition to Arizona to face multiple felony charges.

Recently hired by former high school coach

CBS Sports reported that Neal was placed on administrative leave by ISU following his arrest and the school has already begun the process to terminate his contract.

Neal is a defensive backs coach who had just been hired by ISU in January by head coach Charlie Ragle, who had previously coached at a high school in Arizona where Neal had been one of his star defensive players.

CBS noted that Neal had played one season of college football at Notre Dame University before transferring to the University of Arizona to complete his college career. After his playing days were over, Neal began coaching and, before joining the staff at ISU, had been an assistant coach at a high school in Gilbert, Arizona.

Charged with murder

The murder for which Neal has now been charged occurred in November 2017, according to a report from Arizona’s ABC 15 at that time, and the victim was 25-year-old Bryan Burns.

According to the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office at that time, Burns had been found in a wrecked vehicle under an interstate overpass around 3:30 am and suffering from a severe gunshot wound. He had been transported to a hospital with “life-threatening injuries” but ultimately died a day later.

There had been no suspect at that time, but the sheriff’s office continued to investigate and, according to the Idaho State Journal, a Maricopa County grand jury finally issued an indictment for Neal’s arrest on May 16 of this year. He now faces at least three felony counts, including first-degree murder, one count of perpetrating a drive-by shooting, and one count of discharging a firearm at a structure.

ISU will cooperate with the legal process; Neal had passed a background check

ISU Athletic Director Pauline Thiros told the Journal, “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.”

“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,” Thiros added.

The school further noted that Neal had successfully passed a criminal background check before being hired in January.

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