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WHKY staff photo courtesy of Arianna Mack

Defendant In Rape Trial Found Not Guilty

A jury found a defendant not guilty in an Iredell County rape trial. The Iredell County Superior Court jury deliberated for less than ten minutes Wednesday afternoon (January 17) before finding former Mooresville High School student, 22-year-old Jericho Montrell Neal, not guilty of raping a classmate in 2018. According to published reports, the jury of seven men and five women rendered its decision shortly before 3:30 p.m. Wednesday, concluding an eight day trial.

The alleged incident occurred on the campus of Mooresville High School, when the defendant was 16-years-old and his accuser was 14-years-old. The defendant said the sex was consensual. The encounter in question occurred on March 6, 2018 in a hallway at the Magnolia Building at the school.

During his testimony Wednesday morning, Neal denied the rape allegations. He testified that he and the teen had been talking on Skype for several weeks. After meeting before school on the morning of the incident, Neal told the jury, they had consensual sex in an upstairs hallway.

The teenager told her mother about the incident the next day and was examined at Levine Children’s Hospital in Charlotte. Neal was arrested six months later following an investigation conducted by the Mooresville Police Department. Neal, who was 16-years-old at the time of his arrest, spent almost two years in jail until Neal’s attorney successfully argued for a bond reduction after being appointed to the case.

[Story courtesy of]