DALLAS — Testimony is scheduled to resume Friday morning in the trial of Daniel Deshawn Neal, who is charged with raping and then burning an elderly woman.
In the first time she has ever spoken publicly about the case, Neal's 79-year-old accuser took the stand Thursday at the Frank Crowley Courts Building in Dallas to testify against him.
Neal looked curiously around the courtroom until the woman took the stand. He then bowed his head as she began to recall the afternoon of March 30, 2009.
"He was just hurting me badly," the accuser said. "I think I hit him with my hand in the head."
The 79-year-old admits she was too trusting when she let the 6'-3" Neal — who was clean-shaven and well-dressed at the time — into her Grand Prairie home.
He asked to use the bathroom; she let him in.
"He just jumped up, and he just came at me, and he started choking me with his left hand — I mean, truly choking," the woman told the court.
She said Neal forcibly raped her on her living room floor. Then it got worse.
"I felt this kind of a 'boom,'" the woman testified, saying that Neal Doused her with a bottle of rubbing alcohol and set her on fire.
"The thought crossed my mind this could be where I die," the woman said. "For someone to burn a human being is just absolutely bizarre."
The woman testified that she could feel the searing heat on her shoulder and her neck. "And then it went up into my hair, and it just went whoom! Whoom!"
As the woman burned, she said Neal walked out the door. Asked whether the defendant helped put out the fire, she said: "Oh heavens, no!"
The State of Texas believes it has a strong case against Neal. DNA evidence presented at the trial Thursday shows there is a one in one trillion chance that Neal did not commit this crime.