The True Story of Killer Sally (And What the Documentary Leaves Out) | Pretty Reel

Netflix’s new true-crime documentary Killer Sally detailed the events surrounding the 1995 murder of Mr. Olympia contestant Ray McNeil, but a few details were omitted from the limited series. The documentary focuses on former amateur wrestler, Sally McNeil, wife and killer of Ray, who tells her story through interviews covering much of her early life, her marriage to Ray, the night of the murder, the consequences and the trial. Although Sally’s account of events is complete, she mentions that she is only human and her memory is not perfect. Besides the fact that only his story is told to the public, it is difficult to determine what is fact and what is fiction.

Killer Sally distances itself from many of Netflix’s other true crime documentaries as Sally tells her own story and, more specifically, wants her story told. Viewers were told the devastating reality of Sally being stuck in a cycle of abuse, not only from her husband, Ray, but also from her parents during childhood and even the unfortunate effects this spiral had on her children. . Killer Sally has become one of Netflix’s most popular true-crime shows since its release in October 2022, not least because of the personal touch of having Sally herself on camera, but it hasn’t always worked out. the whole story to the public.

Why did Sally McNeil really kill her husband?

According to Sally McNeil in her Killer Sally interview, on Valentine’s Day 1995 Ray had spent much of the evening away from home instead of being with his wife. Worried about his whereabouts and fearing that he had spent the evening with one of his other lovers, Sally prepared to go to the local bar and look for him. While she was getting ready, Ray returned home and the pair argued over where he had been, culminating in Ray beginning beating and choking Sally in a rage amplified by her steroid use.

In Sally’s story telling, she managed to get away from her uncontrollable husband and rush into the bedroom, where she kept a sawed-off shotgun as protection for herself and her children. She fired one shot into Ray’s stomach, although according to the Killer Sally documentary, Ray kept coming for Sally, forcing her to fire another shot which hit him in the face and knocked him to the ground. Sally immediately called 911 and confessed to the murder, but it was not until later in the hospital that Ray succumbed to his injuries.

Killer Sally was married and had children before Ray

Netflix’s true-crime documentary covered Sally’s life before her marriage to Ray, including her previous marriage to a man named Anthony Lowden. Sally and Anthony were married for four years and had three children, although only two were shown in the Killer documentary Sally, Shantina and John. Sally has mentioned that her relationship with Anthony started out strong but soured after the couple married, leading to Sally’s early experiences with domestic abuse and the eventual service of divorce papers. When the couple divorced, their third child was put up for adoption and taken in by another family, leaving Sally as a single mother with two young children.

Killer Sally’s time in the Marines (and why she was demoted)

After her divorce from Anthony Lowden, Sally joined the Marines, following in the footsteps of her uncle and brother who had also served in the Armed Forces. She served at Camp Pendleton in San Diego County and rose to the rank of sergeant, while also competing in bodybuilding competitions to serve in the Marines. Twice in the late 1980s, Sally won the United States Armed Forces Physique Championships and began her passion for bodybuilding. Eventually, a friend introduced her to Ray McNeil, who was also serving as a Marine, in 1987. The couple only dated two months before getting married.

The documentary Killer Sally touches on the subject of Sally’s behavioral issues while serving in the Marines, but it doesn’t go into detail about what this entailed. In 1990, Sally was demoted from her position as a sergeant due to her consistently poor behavior, including issues with anger, violence, and lashing out at others. Her behavioral record also meant she could not re-enlist in the armed forces after serving her sentence. It was ultimately this chain of events that led to Sally being discharged from the military, so when Ray left too, they settled in Oceanside, California, turning to their professional bodybuilding dreams as a source of income. .

Killer Sally’s Violent Family Explained

Sally described herself as having had a difficult upbringing, with domestic violence being so common she thought it must be commonplace in every normal household. Sadly, it was a theme that chased Sally through every moment of her life as a child and as an adult, first by her father, then her first husband, and finally by Ray. Ray’s domestic abuse began only three days after their wedding and involved not only Sally, but also her two children who had become Ray’s stepchildren. However, the violence was not one-sided, as the true-crime documentary details. In fact, Sally herself also suffered from severe anger control issues and was often violent as well.

Although Killer Sally mentioned some of Sally’s abuse, it avoided going into too much detail about those events. Shortly after launching her ‘Killer Sally’ business, pledging to wrestle with paying clients, Sally pinned one of Ray’s lovers to the ground and beat her, leading the National Physique Committee suspend it for a year. This led to the first instance of Sally pulling her gun on Ray before being pepper sprayed by the police. Sally also found herself in an altercation with a club owner after being told not to dance on the tables, kicking her in the face and threatening to kill police officers when they reprimanded her.

Why Killer Sally’s husband quit pro wrestling in 1994

In 1994, just a year before his eventual murder, Ray McNeil retired from professional wrestling, wishing for a career change and a seemingly life change, as that was also when his business started to take off. end. Perhaps inspired by the works of Arnold Schwarzenegger, Ray decided to pursue a career in acting, even going so far as to take acting lessons while Sally was working. The former bodybuilder also dabbled in stand-up comedy, performing his material on free comedy shows at the Comedy Club in La Jolla, San Diego.

Along with pursuing his acting and comedy career, Ray took it upon himself to become Sally’s bodybuilding mentor. Although it might have seemed like a romantic and affectionate gesture to the outside eye, this decision only made their relationship more hostile. Their fights became more heated and turbulent, with violence being committed by both sides. Ray’s career change and ensuing hostility took place in the months leading up to his murder, with tension building between the two until they eventually broke up.

Killer Sally’s 1995 Valentine’s Day Story Didn’t Really Make Sense

Sally McNeil’s account of Valentine’s Night 1995 certainly sounded incredibly compelling during Killer Sally interviews, but it has to be taken with a pinch of salt because that’s only one side of the story, and Sally her -even admits that his memory may not be the most trustworthy. As featured in the new Netflix documentary, evidence emerged during Sally’s trial that called into question the validity of the story she told, including her body language during the initial police interview, the trajectory of the bullets fired at Ray (one of which must have been fired while he was on the floor), and the spattering of blood on the lamp in their living room.

One piece of evidence that Killer Sally failed to mention is the DNA test, which is usually the turning point in any good true crime documentary. In the case of Sally McNeil, none of her DNA was found on Ray’s person, effectively debunking her story of being beaten and choked relentlessly in the minutes before she shot Ray. There’s no doubt that Ray was an abuser to her and her children, but if Sally had been beaten as much as she claimed that night, her DNA would be on Ray, so it’s curious that none of them has been found.

Why Sally McNeil’s conviction was overturned, then reinstated

Sally claimed self-defense at trial, but was convicted of second-degree murder in 1996 and sentenced to 19 years to life, meaning the jury believed she intended to kill Ray, but did it unexpectedly and in the heat of the moment. . During her time in prison, Sally made numerous requests for parole on various grounds, including improper instructions to the jury. The United States Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit overturned his conviction, although it was appealed to the United States Supreme Court by the State of California, which overturned the decision and reinstated his conviction in 2004.

Sally McNeil served 25 years in the Central California Woman’s Facility in Chowchilla, California, before finally being paroled in May 2020. The documentary Killer Sally briefly shows her life since her release from prison, showing her remarrying and re-entering contact with her now adult children. Sally and Ray McNeil’s story is certainly tragic, filled with violence and turmoil. While Killer Sally ends with Sally being freed, Ray certainly didn’t get a happy ending, though it will surely remain unclear which side of the story is actually the truth.

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The True Story of Killer Sally (And What the Documentary Leaves Out) | Pretty Reel

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