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Ottawa County man charged with murdering wife headed to trial

By Noah Fromson/WZZM-TV • Jan 10, 2019 at 7:00 AM

The man who allegedly shot and killed his wife before turning the gun on himself will sit before a jury on murder charges.

Michael Scott McNeal, 55, is facing possible life in prison for charges of open murder and felony use of a firearm. Ottawa County District Judge Craig Bunce bound over McNeal’s case to Circuit Court after a preliminary examination on Wednesday.

McNeal’s wife, 53-year-old Sherrilee McNeal, was found dead in a trailer outside the couple’s home in Port Sheldon Township on July 24, 2018, at around 3:30 a.m. Police said it was a friend playing online video games with the McNeals’ son who called 911 after gunshots were heard.

The first Ottawa County Sheriff’s Office deputy to arrive at the scene, Tyler VanDoeselaar, said Michael McNeal was shirtless and covering his bloody face with a towel. He told VanDoeselaar that he shot himself and Sherrilee.

Medical examiner Dr. Stephen Cohle, based in Grand Rapids, said Sherrilee was shot three times with a 25-06 bolt-action rifle. The fatal shot went through her neck.

In an interview a few weeks after the shooting, Michael McNeal said he was angry at his wife for starting an online relationship with another man, said Detective David Bytwerk, the lead investigator on the case. McNeal told Bytwerk that he found his wife in the trailer that morning and believed she was communicating with the man.

“She had been kind of hiding the phone,” Bytwerk said. “He then explained that he had gone to the barn, got … a gun, came back and shot her.”

Michael McNeal told Bytwerk that no one else was involved in the shooting.

McNeal’s bond was denied Wednesday and his arraignment in Circuit Court was set for Feb. 1.

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