’90s R&B star faces murder charges in wife’s death

Russell Neal (Houston Police Department)

Russell Neal (Houston Police Department)

HOUSTONĀ — Former Hi-Five R&B singer Russell Neal is in custody after turning himself in to police on July 2, saying his wife was dead in their Houston apartment.

After Houston Fire Department paramedics forced entry into the apartment, they pronounced Catherine Martinez, 24, dead of multiple stab wounds and blunt force head trauma.

Officer Richard Ridel of Houston Police Department’s homicide unit initially questioned Neal, 40, when he turned himself in at the station. According to Ridel, after Neal was read his Miranda rights, he refused to provide further statements without a lawyer present. Neal did, however, say he and his wife had been in an argument before her death.

Police don’t know if Neal and Martinez’s two sons, ages 3 and 4, were at the scene of their mother’s killing. The children are now in the care of Neal’s mother.

Officers say they will interview the couple’s family and neighbors to “see what their relationship was like” and “whether or not they fought a lot,” Ridel said.

Neal is best known for Hi-Five’s No. 1 song, “I Like The Way (The Kissing Game).”

Debbie Engel, an attorney for Hi-Five, said, “We are aware of the current situation in Houston, Texas, involving Russell Neal, former member of the legendary ’90’s R&B group Hi-Five. We are presently evaluating the situation. The group is in the studio recording and Mr. Neal was not a part of the upcoming project. Bronx Most Wanted Entertainment will continue to monitor the situation.”

Engel added on behalf of the group, “This is an unfortunate situation and our prayers go out to both families involved.”

In 2009, Neal faced various charges throughout the year including DWI, marijuana possession, resisting arrest, and driving with an invalid license with previous convictions. In 2004, he faced charges for criminal trespassing.

Neal’s court date is set for July 7, 2014. He remains in jail with a bond set at $100,000.

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