Suspect In 5-Year-Old Murder Undone By Old Social Media Posts


TEXARKANA, Texas–A murder case involving a 19-year-old from Texarkana who was found in the backseat of his burned-out car over five years ago was cracked with the help of social media posts older than the unsolved killing.

Darren Rashun King, 27, has been charged in the fatal shooting of John Neal in March 2018 and is being held in the Bowie County jail with bail set at $1 million. Neal had been reported missing early in the day when his remains were found March 28, 2018, riddled with gunshots in the back of his partly-torched car on Findley St. in Texarkana, Texas, according to a probable cause affidavit.

Neal was shot in the face, the neck, the abdomen and the wrist before his body was placed in the backseat of his car and parked on Findley, investigators theorized at the time. While the killer reportedly attempted to cover his tracks by burning Neal’s body and car, the fire only partially destroyed the vehicle. A blood-soaked comforter with a distinctive pattern found in the trunk may play an important role in the case.

A 2012 photo of King, allegedly wrapped in a comforter identical to the one found drenched in Neal’s blood in the trunk of his car six years later in 2018, was unearthed by investigators digging through social media accounts with a warrant, the affidavit said. Chat conversations between Neal and King, allegedly discussing a plan for Neal to sell King some marijuana on March 27, 2018, the day before Neal’s body was found, were also discovered.

At 10:14 a.m. on March 27, 2018, Neal allegedly told King he was “on his way.”

In a recent interview with Texarkana Texas Police Department investigators, King allegedly gave shifting accounts of his interaction with Neal on the morning of March 27, 2018, which were not in line with the social media exchanges between the two. King reportedly said it was a small buy but the social media posts indicated the drug transaction would involve a $680 purchase of marijuana, far more than a small purchase of the substance would cost.

“King denied having access to firearms at the time of this event,” the affidavit said. “However, I knew this to be a lie because I have seen photos and videos of him on Facebook with guns.”

If found guilty of murder in Neal’s death, King faces five to 99 years or life in a Texas prison.

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