Hi-Five singer tells police wife is dead, asks for attorney

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Thursday, July 3, 2014
Singer asks for attorney after wife's violent death
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A member of the early 1990?s music group Hi-Five walked into the sheriff?s department building, and told authorities that his wife was dead

HOUSTON (KTRK) -- Working at a bond office across the street from a Harris County Sheriff Department building, Mary Alice Valencia has seen plenty. But Wednesday night, something piqued her interest.

"I was working and I noticed across the street when the police officers pulled up," recalled Valencia. "About four police went inside and they walked out with a gentleman who was handcuffed."

That person turned out to be Russell Neal, a member of the early 1990's music group Hi-Five. Houston police say Neal walked into the sheriff's department building, and told authorities that his wife was dead. He then calmly waited for authorities to question and take him away. The incident was even captured in photos by a local man who was also there at the same time. He posted those images on Facebook, which show Neal being led away by authorities.

"He wasn't resisting arrest or fighting with them, or saying anything. When they brought him out in handcuffs, he was just as calm as can be and they just put him in a police car," Valencia said.

After he was led away, authorities went to Neal's apartment at 3766 Tanglewilde. Inside, they found his wife, Catherine Martinez, 24, deceased. Authorities say she suffered multiple stab wounds and blunt force trauma.

Neighbors at the Cedar Creek complex speculated Neal must have had a guilty conscience.

"It don't matter where you at," said neighbor Reneisha Fleming. "Stuff is going to happen clearly, but it's shocking to have it happened so close to home."

"Apparently a guilty conscience, a guilty conscience, a crime of passion," suggested neighbor Keenon Shufford. "You just never know, I think he just probably lost it."

Neighbors say they regularly saw Neal, his wife, and several kids around the complex. The couple and the children were well-groomed, and there didn't seem to be any problems.

"The mom, she never said too much, but you can tell she loved her kids. She kept them clean, they looked good, kept nice," said neighbor Quincy Toler.

Family members confirmed to Eyewitness News that Neal was part of the 90's singing group Hi-Five, an R&B quintet based out of Waco, Texas. Neighbors had no idea Neal was a platinum-selling artist. They recall a quiet couple with two young children who mostly kept to themselves, and say the family always looked happy.

Neighbor Althea Russell said, "There is a lot of death going on. We just should keep praying for the family, if anything, especially if they have kids. Hopefully, the kids are OK."

Now, those kids face a life without a mother due to the violence behind closed doors. The suspect told detectives that the children were with family and friends.

Neal is in custody, and a murder charge is pending against him. HPD says he's no longer cooperating after asking for an attorney.

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