Why Did Sally McNeil Kill Her Husband?

Ray McNeil’s murder in 1995 was followed by an extensive investigation into the circumstances that led to the fatal conclusion. He had been shot by his wife, Sally McNeil, after what she claimed was an argument in their apartment. While the authorities already had the killer in custody, it became essential to understand the reasons behind the shooting. Netflix’s ‘Killer Sally’ aims to shine some light on this case, and if you’re curious about what happened, we’ve got you covered.

The McNeils’ Tumultuous Union

Sally and Ray McNeil married in 1987 after just a few months of dating. At the time, both of them were Marines and were into bodybuilding. But while Ray went into pro bodybuilding, Sally remained the primary breadwinner of the house. She cared for her two children, John and Shantina, from a previous relationship and paid for Ray’s steroids for his competitions.

However, the couple’s eight-year marriage was a difficult one for the most part. Sally had claimed that Ray was often abusive, both physically and sexually. He was accused of beating Sally constantly, leading to several injuries that included five broken bones throughout their relationship, in addition to bruises and black eyes. Court records indicated that Ray kicked and pushed Sally around. But despite that, Sally stayed with Ray because she loved him.

Furthermore, Ray was accused of having multiple affairs, and according to a friend, DJ Jeffers, the bodybuilder was planning to end things with Sally. At the time of the incident, he was also seeing a woman named Marianne he met at the gym and wanted to have a future with her. On the night of the incident, Sally was angry about Ray coming home late since it was Valentine’s Day. She suspected that he might have been with another woman. According to DJ, Ray was with Marianne before he headed home to Sally.

It appeared that the alleged abuse eventually culminated in the violent incident that occurred on February 14, 1995. Sally later told the police that Ray attacked and choked her after an argument. She claimed to have gone to the bedroom to get the shotgun, firing once. But when Ray still didn’t back down, Sally said she shot him again. A neighbor later overheard her saying, “I just wanted him to leave me alone.” At the time of the incident, John and Shantina were at the apartment.

After the case garnered national attention, media speculated that the couple’s steroid usage might have played a role since Ray had five different steroids in his body and Sally tested positive for one. Furthermore, the prosecution pointed to a history of Sally’s aggressive behavior: she pointed a gun at her ex-husband, threw a dumbbell on Ray’s car, assaulted a bouncer at a bar, and later threatened to kill police officers.

In 1990, Sally attacked a woman at a bodybuilding competition because she suspected that the woman had an affair with Ray. The prosecution called Ray’s slaying cold-blooded murder, adding that Ray was about to leave Sally and that life insurance was a possible motive. The defense contended that Sally was a battered woman who had dealt with abuse since childhood and shot Ray in self-defense. But in the end, the jury found Sally guilty of second-degree murder, sentencing her to 19 years to life.

Read More: Where is Sally McNeil Now?