Man at center of murder-for-hire case killed in Arizona collision

Man at center of murder-for-hire case killed in Arizona collision
David Nash
The scene of the collision in Arizona that killed David Nash. (Source: Tucson News Now)
The scene of the collision in Arizona that killed David Nash. (Source: Tucson News Now)
Jan. 2011 crime scene photo of Montgomery exterminator Ralph "Critterman" McNeil's burnedout pickup truck. His body was found nearby. (Source: WSFA 12 News file photo)
Jan. 2011 crime scene photo of Montgomery exterminator Ralph "Critterman" McNeil's burnedout pickup truck. His body was found nearby. (Source: WSFA 12 News file photo)

TUCSON, AZ (WSFA) - A man at the center of a rare murder-for-hire case in Montgomery has died in Arizona after being struck by a vehicle.

Pima County, Arizona, Deputy Chief Medical Examiner, Dr. Eric Peters, confirms David Nash, 59, died from blunt force trauma to the head and trunk after being struck by a motor vehicle.

Peters said an autopsy was conducted but a toxicology report is still pending. It could take between four to six weeks to finalize.

The Northwest Fire District in Tucson said Nash was pronounced dead on the scene after being struck by a vehicle in the 5500 block of North Oracle Road around 11:40 p.m. on Jan. 26.

Trooper Kameron Lee with the Arizona Department of Public Safety stated Nash was struck by a black Dodge sedan while walking across the southbound lanes.

"It is unclear why [Nash] was crossing the road in that area", Lee stated in an email. "It is important to note, it is a very dark area of the highway."

Nash was convicted multiple times in a 2011 high-profile murder-for-hire case in Alabama's capital city for the death of Skip "Critterman" McNeil.

Each conviction was appealed, which resulted in awarding of a new trial due to various legal technicalities such as contradictory evidence offered during the trial and juror misconduct.

"The first verdict was the quickest we have ever gotten in Montgomery", Montgomery County District Attorney Daryl Bailey stated. 
"This was because of the overwhelming evidence."

The final time the case was retried, a lesser-included charge of felony murder was offered by the Court, also resulting in a conviction. The defense appealed the offering of felony murder after the conviction, citing it was not a proper lesser-included charge for capital murder. The Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals agreed, set aside the conviction and vacated the sentence, but was legally unable to grant a new trial for capital murder.

"Based on the foregoing, the judgment of the trial court is reversed and this cause remanded for proceedings consistent with this opinion", the Feb. 10, 2017, order from the Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals stated. "We note that because the trial court granted Nash's motion for judgment of acquittal on the indicted offense of capital murder for pecuniary gain or for hire, Nash cannot be retired for that offense."

Since the judge had already granted Nash's motion for judgment of acquittal on capital murder for hire, he could not stand trial for capital murder again. He was released from jail in March 2017.

"True justice happened when those jurors in Montgomery returned a verdict of guilt, and unfortunately that was stripped away by a judge",  Bailey stated.

Following Nash's release, Bailey said he immediately contacted the U.S. Attorney's Office in Alabama's Middle District to seek justice for the McNeil family.

If he was not going to be held accountable in the state system, we wanted to make sure he was held accountable in the federal system", Bailey said. "We are very thankful for the work they have put into helping me with this.  We were on our way and making a lot of progress in this case until we got the news today [Friday]."

The U.S. Attorney's Office in Alabama's Middle District confirms it was looking into the case but couldn't speak further regarding an investigation.  The Department of Justice prosecutes murder-for-hire cases that involve telecommunication.

It's unclear if Nash was living in the Tucson area at the time of his death.

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