Murder charge clouds ISU


Bannock Detention Center

Davonte’ Neal’s mug shot taken at Bannock Detention Center located in Bannock County, Idaho. (Bannock Detention Center)

One month after Charlie Ragle was hired as head coach for the Idaho State University football program, assistant coach DaVonte’ Neal was added to the ISU coaching staff.

Four months after Neal was hired, the Pocatello Police Department was contacted by the Maricopa County Police Department in Arizona resulting in Neal’s arrest on May 25. He has since been charged with first degree murder.

The incident occurred back in 2017 when Neal was involved in a drive-by-shooting, killing Bryan T. Burns along Interstate-10 near Phoenix.

At the time of his death, Burns was a 25-year-old college student enrolled at Mesa Community College and was not known to be involved in any sort of gun violence.

In an interview with the Idaho State Journal, family members of Burns explained that there was no known friendship between the two, acquaintances at most.

Neal was once a player for Ragle before working alongside him. The relationship began in high school where Ragle coached Neal at Chaparral High School, and the two found each other again at the University of Arizona in 2014.

Neal is currently incarcerated at the Bannock County jail awaiting extradition to Arizona and has been placed on administrative leave. Idaho State is working on the termination process.

“The news of DaVonte’ Neal’s arrest and charges in Arizona was a great shock,” ISU athletic director Pauline Thiros said in a text to the Idaho State Journal. “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.”

Neal has been removed from the school’s online coach roster and the school has made no further announcements.