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Who are Sally McNeil’s children, John and Shantina, in the documentary Killer Sally?

November 2, 2022

Netflix’s new crime documentary Killer Sally tells the story of professional bodybuilder Sally McNeil who killed her husband and fellow bodybuilder Ray McNeil on Valentine’s Day 1995.

Sally, nicknamed Killer Sally by the press, shot her husband twice with a shotgun while her two children were in the house.

Sally phoned the police immediately after the event, claiming she had acted in self-defense and that her husband was abusive.

Ray McNeill in Killer Sally DocumentaryRay McNeil in Killer Sally. cr. Courtesy of Netflix © 2022

But despite Ray’s abuse allegations, McNeil was convicted of murder and sentenced to 19 years to life. She spent 25 years in a women’s correctional facility in California before being released in 2020.

The three-part series uses interviews with the current Sally and features her two children, John from a previous marriage and Shantina who she had with Ray.

It explores the abuse she faced before the murder as well as the McNeils’ professional life as bodybuilders.

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Sally McNeil’s Children

Sally’s two children, John and Shantina, were aged nine and 11 at the time of Ray’s death. They grew up in Oceanside, California and struggled financially. As Sally’s bodybuilding career took off, the family had more money, but it created a troubling family life.

Sally made money performing in “fetish” wrestling videos where men paid $300 to privately wrestle with her. While Sally denied anyone had asked her for sex, Shantina described the men as “scary and embarrassing”.

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Bodybuilder Sally McNeill sitting on the tankSally McNeil in Killer Sally. cr. © 2022 Netflix

In the documentary, Sally’s two children vouched for their mother’s claims that Ray was abusive. They said Ray broke Sally’s nose and John said he also suffered from Ray’s abuse.

What happened to Shantina and John?

After the murder, Sally’s children went to a children’s home. They then went to live with their grandparents in the eastern United States, 3,000 miles from the California prison where Sally was being held.

Both John and Shantina have served in the US Army, John has completed five tours in Afghanistan, and Shantina has completed two tours in Iraq and Afghanistan.

John later suffered from PTSD and drug addiction, for which he received treatment. Shantina also suffered from PTSD which she says was the result of her military experience and an abusive relationship.

Shantina moved on from the abusive relationship and is now a single parent with her son. Sally’s two children live closer to her now. While Sally served in prison, John stopped speaking to her, but is said to be in regular contact now.

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