Kevin Neal, Convicted of Murder by Forensic Entomology
Even more damaging to the defense, Selvaggio promised that the state would present testimony from three witnesses who would swear that Kevin Neal made incriminating statements about himself.
The morning of the murder, Selvaggio said, Neal called his aunt, Carolyn Gragg, and told her "something terrible had happened" and that he was considering suicide. The next day, after a day of intense questioning by authorities followed by a night of heavy drinking, Neal told Sue Neal's sister, Libby Wyatt, "Libby, I might as well just confess so all this will stop and get it over with. The only thing I'm afraid of is the death penalty." Finally, Selvaggio said Neal told another woman that he "took the whole blame" for the children's disappearance, adding, "I couldn't walk to the electric chair."
Tripplett responded in his opening statement by pointing out there was no physical evidence linking Kevin Neal — or anyone else — to the crime. Later, Meyers would question the accuracy of Gragg's recollection of the conversation she had with Neal, who insisted to his attorneys that he had not said "something terrible had happened," but that he told Aunt Carolyn that "he was in deep shit" because Sue Neal wanted him out of her home.
"This is a case about earnest police efforts that simply reached ... a very wrong conclusion," Tripplett said in his opening statement. "Before (the day the children vanished) was over, sheriff's deputies and others began to point an accusing finger at Kevin Neal despite the lack of any indication of wrongdoing on his part,'' he said. The state "cannot show you how these children died, when these children died, and cannot show you where they were killed. And yet he will want you to supply the who — Mr. Neal."