HALIFAX — After more than 10 years since his arrest, Grady Neal Jr. was sentenced to 13 to 16 months on Monday after agreeing to a plea deal on sexual charges of a minor.

On Thursday, Cynthia “Cyndi” King said that she was in the superior courtroom at the Halifax County Courthouse with her daughter, Alea King, and another victim to watch the long-awaited motion.

“I’m finally relieved,” Cynthia said, recalling how she felt at that moment. “I fought for 14 — 15 years for my child, and I never gave up.”

Neal was arrested on May 12, 2008, on nine counts of taking indecent liberties with a child, one count of first-degree attempted sex offense, two counts of first-degree sex offense and one count of first-degree rape. However, it is unclear as to why it took more than a decade for the case to gain any traction inside the Halifax County Courthouse, but court files read Neal’s defense had the case continued eight times and two times by the state.

The record appeared to show a lengthy list of attorneys coming in and out of Neal’s defense team until Sammy D. Webb of Webb, Webb & Summey P.A. was retained on Dec. 15, 2020.

Additionally, Press Secretary Nazeen Ahmed said the case was referred to the state Department of Justice Attorney General’s Office on Sept. 16, 2019.

According to court records, Special Prosecutor Benjamin Oren Zellinger (Boz) with the office was assigned to the case on Jan. 10.

When asked why Neal went for a plea deal, Webb said he was unable to give the reason, but said he would be registered as a sex offender. However, when asked if the registry was temporary, he said there will be a hearing to determine how long Neal will remain on the sex offender registry.

That hearing will take place on Feb. 14, according to court documents.

Cynthia said the incident occurred in 2007 when Alea was 11 years old. Cynthia said she was married to Neal at the time and the incident went on for six months. At the time, she said she was going through back pain and needed back surgery, but moved into in the room with her daughter where there were two twin beds. Cynthia said Neal would act differently, and she would catch him watching pornography at times.

She described an instance where Neal would be sitting in a chair and have her daughter sit on his belly. Cynthia said he would cover himself with a blanket and watch television.

“I always had something grabbed at me when I walk by doors, either in his room or in the living room — he would jerk when I would come by,” she said. “But that happened for a while for that six months.”

Cynthia described other situations, but it was not until her back surgery that her daughter told her about what has been happening.

“My daughter looked at me and said, ‘Mom, what would happen to us if Grady wasn’t in the picture?’ ” she said. “I told her I’ll take care of you like I did before. And she turned white and that’s when she told me Grady’s been touching her.”

When asked what her daughter’s reaction was to Neal’s sentencing, Cynthia said she shook the whole time.

“She just wanted to let go because every time we would have to meet up with the district attorneys or anything, she would have to bring it back up and relive it,” she said. “And after all these years, a victim does not want to reach out, especially one that was a child grew up through all this. And she’s in her early 20s, and now it’s a long time that she’s had to relive. They should be sued. The system should be sued because they let her down at the beginning on up to now. It’s not fair.”

Neal is currently locked up in the Halifax County jail.

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