By Bert Poston
District Attorney, Conasauga Judicial Circuit
Tuesday, February 12, 2013 (Dalton, Ga.) – Adolph Ray “Sonny” Neal, 50, of 1200 Green Springs Road near Dawnville, Ga., entered a negotiated guilty plea today to two counts of murder and was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole by Superior Court Judge William T. Boyett. Neal, who had been in custody without bond since his June 1, 2012 arrest for the murders of his wife, Jessica Brittany Neal and her grandfather, Don William Shedd, was represented by local attorney Marcus Morris.
The bodies of Jessica and her grandfather were discovered at the residence they shared with Neal on May 24, 2012. Jessica, who was found in the pool house, had been stabbed multiple times following a domestic argument that had begun the evening before. Shedd was located in the kitchen of the residence, the victim of multiple blunt-force trauma to the head. The discovery of the bodies set off a week long manhunt for Neal which ended with his arrest by the Varnell Police Department on June 1, 2012. The case was investigated by Special Agent Dan Sims of the Georgia Bureau of Investigation and Detective Scott McAllister of the Whitfield County Sheriff’s Office.
The plea agreement was reached after numerous meetings with the surviving members of the victims’ family. The sentence was agreed to by all and several members of the family were present in court during the plea.