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‘A sort of nightmare’: Hotel guest allegedly awoke to night manager sucking on his toes

David Patrick Neal (NMPD)

David Patrick Neal (NMPD)

A 52-year-old hotel manager in Tennessee has been arrested after a male guest staying at the establishment allegedly awoke to find the Hilton Hotel employee sucking on his toes.

David Patrick Neal was taken into custody on Friday and charged with one count each of aggravated burglary and assault, court records reviewed by Law&Crime show.

The incident allegedly took place in the pre-dawn hours of March 30 at the downtown Nashville Hilton Hotel in the 100 block of Fourth Avenue South.

The guest, who filed a lawsuit in the case alleging sexual assault, told officers with the Nashville Metropolitan Police Department that he was in town on a business trip, according to a report from Nashville ABC affiliate WKRN-TV. He was reportedly asleep inside his room at about 5 a.m. when he allegedly woke up to find the suspect allegedly sucking on his toes, WKRN reported.

Upon waking up, he reportedly told police that he immediately confronted the hotel’s night manager, whom he recognized. Neal and another hotel employee, had allegedly come to his room the previous day because the guest was experiencing problems with his in-room television, the station reported.

In an interview with WKRN, the guest said he was so startled to see Neal in his room that he screamed before reporting the incident to hotel security and calling the police.

Upon arriving at the hotel, police reportedly took the guest’s statement and spoke to Neal about the alleged incident.

Neal reportedly admitted to investigators that he had entered his room without the guest’s permission using a cloned room key. However, he told police that he only entered his room because he thought he could smell smoke coming from inside and wanted to ensure that everything was OK, WKRN reported.

In the arrest report, police noted that Neal did not notify anyone else on the hotel staff about his claim of smelling smoke and no guests reported smelling smoke. Neal also reportedly told police that after leaving the guest’s room, he threw away the cloned key, which was never recovered.

“All my life you just have that sense of security, and that sense of peace, right? It’s not like you’re camping and you have to kind of keep one eye open. You have that security that’s yours, and when you close your eyes, you feel like you’re safe and you’re protected and it was a complete violation,” the victim told WKRN. “I was just so, so shocked. It was, ‘Who are you? Why are you in my room?’ It was almost like a dream, a sort of nightmare. It just didn’t make sense. Why is this person touching me?”

In his lawsuit against the hotel, the guest’s lawyer reportedly pointed out Neal has a criminal past, including spending five years in prison for manslaughter.

“Multiple charges of forgery, drinking and driving, a manslaughter conviction as well, which served prison time,” said Michael Fisher, one of the victim’s attorneys. “When Hilton hired this person, they had to have known. They have to do background checks to know, and the fact that they would put somebody like that in a position where they have the ability to clone keys, have the ability to get into a guest’s room.”

It was unclear Saturday whether Neal had an attorney in the civil lawsuit or the criminal case.

Referring to the allegations, Fisher reportedly added, “It’s just shocking,” adding, “We haven’t seen a case like this.”

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Fisher did not immediately respond to a message from Law&Crime.

Neal was indicted in Wilson County in 1996 on one count of second-degree murder for shooting his roommate, according to Nashville NBC affiliate WSMV-TV. Though he claimed it was self-defense, a jury in 1997 found him guilty on one count of voluntary manslaughter.

In a statement to WKRN, the hotel said that it is cooperating with police and does not comment on ongoing investigations.

Neal was taken into custody on Friday and held in lieu of $27,000 bond.

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Jerry Lambe is a journalist at Law&Crime. He is a graduate of Georgetown University and New York Law School and previously worked in financial securities compliance and Civil Rights employment law.