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TX: Ronnie Neal found dead in cell
Wed Jun 16, 2010 17:28

Teacher's killer found dead in cell
By Guillermo X. Garcia - Express-News
Web Posted: 06/15/2010 11:17 CDT

Ronnie Neal, convicted in the November 2004 robbery, rape and death of Robbins Academy schoolteacher Diane Tilly, was found dead this weekend in his state prison cell, Bexar County officials confirmed Tuesday.

Neal, 39, was inside his death row cell at the Polunsky Unit, Bexar County First Assistant District Attorney Cliff Herberg said. He said prison officials notified his office of the death Monday.

Neal and his teenage daughter, Pearl Cruz, were convicted in 2006. Neal was sentenced to death, and Cruz received a 30-year prison term.

Tilly, 58, the lead teacher at the alternative high school in Alamo Heights, was tricked into letting Cruz into her house. Her body was left in a field and discovered two weeks after she was reported missing.

The case drew widespread interest, drawing a national television show, Court TV's “Forensic Files,” to San Antonio for a segment on the Tilly murder.

Herberg said authorities have not determined what caused Neal's death. Neal was awaiting an execution date.

Staff writer Michelle Mondo contributed to this report.

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