killer sally true story

The twisted true story of Sally McNeil, the subject of Netflix’s Killer Sally

Netflix’s latest brutal true crime is available now

Netflix has released its newest true crime doc, Killer Sally, today (2nd November) and it’s truly wild.

At the height of her career, Sally McNeil went from successful bodybuilder and business owner to one of the most notorious spousal murderers in the US. While she maintains she suffered a lot of violence at the hands of her late husband, Ray; others have suggested she simply killed him for the life insurance payout.

Here’s the shocking true story of “Killer” Sally McNeil in full:

killer sally netflix

Photo via Netflix

Sally Lowden was just 27 years old when she married her second husband, 23-year-old Ray McNeil. Despite her young age, she’d already been married before and given birth to three children – one of which was adopted by another family during her divorce. The first marriage lasted four years, before turning irreparably messy. 

Herself and Ray were Sergeants in the Marine Corps – a section of the army similar to the navy – which supported their new family for three years. 

In 1990, however, Sally was demoted for her poor behavioural record, and unable to re-enlist when she served her time. Strapped for cash, with two children to care for, Sally and Ray agreed she’d use her skills as a bodybuilder to make up for her lost income. 

As well as entering herself into state-wide and national female bodybuilding competitions, Sally started a fetish business on the side. Her professional alias was “Killer McNeil”, and men would pay her to defeat them in private wrestling sessions. While the Killer McNeil business successfully brought in the income the family desperately needed, it became a point of high tension in her relationship with Ray. 

killer sally true story

Photo via Netflix

Thanks to the money being made from Sally’s clients and videos, Ray was able to leave the Marines and become a competitive bodybuilder full-time. He entered 10 “pro shows” in 1993, according to Muscular Development Magazine. But all the while, he was having affairs with other women.

Around the time she first started her Killer McNeil business, Sally attacked one of Ray’s lovers at a bodybuilding show; pinning her to the floor and hitting her repeatedly. This resulted in the National Physique Committee (NPC) suspending Sally for a year. It’s thought she also physically took her anger out on her husband; pulling a gun on him for the first time, before being pepper sprayed by police officers. 

The fights didn’t stop there. In 1993, Sally was confronted by a club bouncer for dancing on the tables. Drunk, and not wanting to do what he told her, “Killer” Sally kicked him in the face three times. When police arrived, she threatened to kill them. 


Ray’s affairs began to settle down in 1994, just one year before his killing, due to a career change. Seemingly from left-field, the former bodybuilder quit the craft to pursue acting, instead. He took acting classes while Sally worked, and set his sights on becoming a stand-up comedian, performing free shows at The Comedy Club in La Jolla; San Diego.

Despite the change in career path, Sally and Ray continued to have a turbulent marriage. After Ray started a side-hustle as Sally’s mentor, the fights began to grow more heated. On Valentine’s Day 1995, Ray McNeil returned home from the gym. 

While Sally was cooking dinner, the pair became caught up in yet another argument. She walked off for a moment, and came back holding a shotgun. In a devastating turn of events; she shot Ray once in the abdomen, and once in the head. Terrifyingly, Ray didn’t even die instantly. It was slow, painful and bloody; while Sally called 911 on herself.

sally mcneil

Photo via Netflix

An autopsy on Ray (and drug test on Sally) found multiple types of steroid in each person’s system. This led the media to brand this a “death by roid rage” – implying the performance-enhancing drugs made Sally murderously angry. There hasn’t been any subsequent proof of this.

A year later, while on trial, Sally admitted to killing Ray – but she insisted she was justified in doing so. The bodybuilder claimed her husband had come home that night and proceeded to “choke and hit her”, and she killed him in an act of self-defence. 

No DNA of Sally’s was found on Ray, which eliminated any forensic evidence to back up her story. “Killer” Sally McNeil was sentenced to 19 years in prison for second degree murder – which means they believe she killed him intentionally, but more in the heat of the moment. 

Netflix’s Killer Sally features an exclusive interview with McNeil herself, in which she maintains her story that Ray beat her throughout the relationship.

Killer Sally is available now on Netflix. For all the latest Netflix news, drops, quizzes and memes like The Holy Church of Netflix on Facebook. 

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