Hi-Five Group Member Russell Neal Charged With Murder Of Wife
Singer Russell Neal and aspiring model Catherine Martinez had two kids together.
In July 2014, Russell Neal, a member of the R&B group Hi-Five, was arrested for the murder of his wife, Catherine Martinez, after he went to the local police station in Houston, Texas and reported that his wife was dead.
"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," Mary Alice Valencia, a woman working at a bond office across the street from the Harris County Sheriff Department, told ABC 13, right after Neal’s arrest.
According to a report by US Weekly, the ‘90s R&B singer told the authorities his wife, a then 24-year-old fitness model and aspiring boxer, was dead inside their West Houston apartment and that he needed a lawyer.
Neal told police that he and his wife got into an argument and refused to answer any more questions, according to KHOU. Law enforcement forced entry into the home and found Martinez’s body underneath a blanket.
Sheriff’s deputies said Martinez died from blunt force trauma and multiple stab wounds, TMZ reported. Police also said there were no witnesses to the murder and that the couple’s two children were not in the apartment when their mother was killed.
“They seem like a happy couple. All of a sudden, it’s a shock,” Raymond Batiste, a neighbor, told KHOU, in 2014.
Martinez’s family said they sensed something off from the beginning.
"There was something about him, his eyes, it was just something dark, so I didn't like him from the get-go," said Emy, Martinez’s sister, in a 2017 interview with True Crime Daily.
Another one of Martinez’s sisters told True Crime Daily that her sister suffered domestic violence at the hands of Neal.
"There were bruises and scratches and she would try to come to our house with makeup, and she would try and cover it up with makeup. You would see the foundation, everything trying to cover up her eyes, but we would tell," said Glenda Lewis. "Russell kept telling her 'I've changed, won't do it, we have a family, we need to be together.”
Neal was charged with first-degree murder in 2014 and was released on a $100,000 bond.
Two months later, a court determined Neal, who was only answering to Jesus Christ, was incompetent to stand trial and he was sent to Rusk State Hospital.
According to True Crime Daily, Neal still sits in the mental institution.
For more on this case, stream Death by Fame on discovery+.
If you or someone you know is dealing with domestic violence, stalking, or abuse from a romantic partner, you can visit the National Domestic Violence Hotline website, call 1.800.799.SAFE or text START to 88788 for help. Advocates are available 24/7 to help callers talk through their situation and connect them with local resources. There is no charge to reach out to the National Domestic Violence Hotline.