Murderpedia

 

 

Juan Ignacio Blanco  

 

  MALE murderers

index by country

index by name   A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

  FEMALE murderers

index by country

index by name   A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

 

 

 
 

Mario Andrette McNEILL

 
 
 
 
 

 

 

 

 
 
 
Classification: Murderer
Characteristics: Kidnapping, sexual offense of a child, indecent liberties with a child, human trafficking and sexual servitude in connection with the death
Number of victims: 1
Date of murder: November 10, 2009
Date of arrest: 3 days after
Date of birth: April 30, 1980
Victim profile: Shaniya Davis, 5
Method of murder: Suffocation
Location: Fayetteville, Cumberland County, North Carolina, USA
Status: Sentenced to death on May 29, 2013
 
 
 
 
 
 
photo gallery
 
 
 
 
 
 

Fayetteville child killer sentenced to death

Wral.com

May 29, 2013

Fayetteville, N.C. — A Cumberland County jury deliberated less than 40 minutes Wednesday before deciding that Mario Andrette McNeill should die for the November 2009 death of 5-year-old Shaniya Davis.

The eight-man, four-woman jury last week convicted McNeill, 32, of first-degree murder, first-degree kidnapping, sexual offense of a child, indecent liberties with a child, human trafficking and sexual servitude in connection with her death.

That decision took almost eight hours over two days, but jurors didn't even have to call out for lunch Wednesday before handing down the death sentence.

"I submit to you, without hesitation, that the only punishment appropriate in this case – for these crimes – is the death penalty," Assistant Cumberland County District Attorney Robby Hicks said in his closing argument Wednesday morning.

McNeill, who is the first person to be sentenced to death in Cumberland County in six years, declined to make a statement in court.

Shaniya's father, Bradley Lockhart, berated McNeill after the sentence was announced, saying he treated the entire trial as a joke and his demeanor made a mockery of the court.

"The media glorifies you as you walk in with smirks and smiles," Lockhart said. "I'm not going to worship you. I'm going to pray for you."

He added: "I think of those last seconds, and you were the last thing my daughter got to look at."

After offering no evidence in his defense during the trial, McNeill told Superior Court Judge Jim Ammons on Tuesday that he wanted no one to testify on his behalf before sentencing. He even forbade his lawyers from offering any closing arguments to jurors.

“My goal was freedom. I lost my freedom. What does it matter after that?” he said.

Lockhart and Shaniya's half-sister wept Tuesday as they described for jurors the difficulty in dealing with her death.

"It's been a long road," Lockhart said Wednesday. "At the end of this verdict, nobody has really won here. I'll never get Shaniya back. You took that from me."

District Attorney Billy West said McNeill showed no remorse for Shaniya's death.

"He showed no regard for her innocence when he kidnapped her from her home in the middle of the night," West said in his closing argument. "He showed no regard for her life when he murdered her and left her along desolate Walker Road."

Before McNeill was taken in handcuffs out of the courtroom, Ammons spoke to him.

"May God have mercy on your soul," he said. "You did not have to kill that child."

Ammons then turned to Shaniya's family.

"I can't give you justice," he said. "The jury has given you what we as humans – the best we humans can do – to give you justice. Justice would be if I reversed all of this, and I can't."

McNeill's mother, Juanita Bell, who left the courtroom in tears Tuesday after her son would not let her testify on his behalf, showed now emotion Wednesday. She and other family members declined to comment.

Shaniya's body was found on Nov. 16, 2009, in a kudzu patch off N.C. Highway 87 on the Lee-Harnett county line, six days after her mother reported her missing from their Fayetteville mobile home.

An autopsy determined that she had been suffocated, and she had injuries "consistent with a sexual assault" shortly before she died, according to a medical examiner.

Assistant District Attorney Rita Cox told jurors that the girl died "a slow, agonizing death," with a "carcass wasteland for her burial site."

Cox said McNeill knew what he was doing the night Shaniya was taken from her home, and he even talked to police a few days later after being seen with the girl at a Sanford hotel "because he thought he could manipulate them."

McNeill insisted in his nearly six-hour interview with police that he merely took Shaniya to the hotel at the request of her aunt, and he then handed the girl off to somebody he thought was a relative who would ensure that she went to school.

"Mario McNeill thinks he's smarter than police," Cox said. "He denies everything – lie, lie, lie and lie."

West and Cox told jurors not to be swayed by McNeill's silence in court.

"It may be to invoke sympathy, it may be a simple act of defiance or it may be manipulation," West said. "I ask you to follow the law in this case.

"There's a lot he'd like you to forget," he said. "He wants you to forget that he had sex with Shaniya after he struck out with the 26 women he texted. ... He wants you to forget that he suffocates the life out of Shaniya Davis."

"Don't let it manipulate you into feeling sympathy for the defendant," Cox said.

Defense attorney Butch Pope said he and his co-counsel, Terry Alford, had never as stubborn as McNeill. If McNeill would have allowed the attorneys to present testimony on his behalf, it may have "put on a human face" and possibly kept him off death row, Pope said.

"As defense lawyers, we can't help but wonder if that would have made a difference, if we would have been able to present the mitigating evidence," he said.

McNeill becomes the 153rd inmate on North Carolina's death row. The last person from Cumberland County sentenced to death was Eugene Johnny Williams, who was convicted in 2007 of killing two people in a dispute over a stolen motorcycle.

No executions have been carried out in the state since 2006.

Investigators say Shaniya's mother, Antoinette Nicole Davis, sold her to McNeill to pay off a drug debt. Davis is charged with first-degree murder, indecent liberties with a child, felony child abuse, felony sexual servitude, rape of a child, sexual offense of a child by an adult offender, human trafficking and making a false police report.

She will be tried later this year, but prosecutors aren't seeking the death penalty against her.

 
 

Fayetteville man guilty of killing Shaniya Davis, not of raping her

Wral.com

May 23, 2013

Fayetteville, N.C. — A jury on Thursday convicted a Fayetteville man of kidnapping and killing a 5-year-old girl more than three years ago, but he was acquitted of raping her.

The eight-man, four-woman jury deliberated for about 7½ hours over two days before finding Mario Andrette McNeill, 33, guilty of first-degree murder, first-degree kidnapping, sexual offense of a child, indecent liberties with a child, human trafficking and sexual servitude in the death of Shaniya Davis.

McNeill showed no emotion as the verdicts were read in the quiet courtroom.

Shaniya's father, Bradley Lockhart, said sitting through the trial has been difficult – and it's not over.

"I've had to relive this whole thing again, and we've still got several more months of court proceedings to relive this," Lockhart said. "Then, I've got the rest of my life to kind of always look back on it. So, it's something that we'll never get over. It's something we've got to learn to deal with."

McNeill's family has declined to speak with the media during the trial.

Jurors will return next Tuesday to hear evidence before deciding whether McNeill should be sentenced to death or life in prison without parole.

Shaniya's body was found on Nov. 16, 2009, in a kudzu patch off N.C. Highway 87 on the Lee-Harnett county line, six days after her mother reported her missing from their Fayetteville mobile home.

An autopsy determined that she had been suffocated, and she had injuries "consistent with a sexual assault" shortly before she died, according to a medical examiner.

Prosecutors presented 12 days of testimony from 44 witnesses, tying McNeill to Shaniya through a security video at a Sanford hotel, hair from a hotel comforter and a blanket found in a trash can outside the girl's home, and soil from the gas pedal of his car, which a geologist said likely came from the site where Shaniya's body was found.

McNeill's original defense attorney also provided Fayetteville police with information that led to the discovery of Shaniya's body.

McNeill presented no evidence in his defense, and his attorneys argued that prosecutors couldn't prove where Shaniya was assaulted or when she died.

His DNA wasn't found on the girl, and he has maintained that he took her to the Sanford hotel at the request of her aunt and later handed her off to someone he thought was related to her.

Investigators say Shaniya's mother, Antoinette Nicole Davis, sold her daughter to McNeill to pay off a drug debt. Antoinette Davis is charged with first-degree murder, indecent liberties with a child, felony child abuse, felony sexual servitude, rape of a child, sexual offense of a child by an adult offender, human trafficking and making a false police report.

She will be tried later this year, but prosecutors aren't seeking the death penalty against her.

McNeill has maintained since his arrest that he didn't kill Shaniya. He even rejected a plea deal last month before his trial started that would have kept him off death row. That decision now lies with the jury.

 
 

Closing arguments heard in Shaniya Davis Case

By Bryan Mims - Wral.com

May 21, 2013

Fayetteville, N.C. — Prosecutors making closing arguments Tuesday in their case against a Fayetteville man accusing of raping and killing a 5-year-old girl called on the jury to convict based on “strong circumstantial evidence” against the defendant.

In his 90-minute closing, Cumberland County District Attorney Billy West exhorted jurors to find Mario Andrette McNeill guilty of rape and first-degree murder in the death of Shaniya Davis, whose body was found in a wooded area on the Lee-Harnett county line on Nov. 16, 2009.

“Tell her you know what happened to her, not the lies that he’s been telling,” West said. “I ask you, I plead for you, on behalf of the state of North Carolina, to take that last step. I ask you to go into that jury room and find him guilty for what he did to that little baby.”

Through most of his closing argument, West walked jurors through a timeline of events surrounding Shaniya’s disappearance, McNeill’s arrest and the subsequent discovery of her body. He focused on evidence including video and witness testimony that put Shaniya with McNeill at a hotel, his pubic hair found a hotel comforter and soil samples from his car that were consistent with soil from the area where the girl’s body was found.

"Justice found a way in this case time and time and time again, and that is not coincidence," West said. “These aren't coincidences, ladies and gentlemen, these are a set of circumstances."

West also reminded jurors of testimony from police who said a phone call from McNeill’s attorney at the time helped them narrow the search area for Shaniya’s body.

That prompted defense attorney Terry Alford to ask for a mistrial, saying West “crossed the line.” The judge denied the motion.

Prosecutors called 44 witnesses over the past three weeks before resting their case against McNeill on Thursday morning. He did not take the stand or present any evidence in his own defense, however, he demanded jurors watch his full six-hour interview with police.

If the eight-man, four-woman jury finds him guilty, they would then hear evidence before deciding whether to sentence him to life in prison without parole or death.

Investigators say Shaniya's mother, Antoinette Nicole Davis, sold her daughter to McNeill to pay off a drug debt. She reported the girl missing six days before she was found.

Antoinette Davis is charged with first-degree murder, indecent liberties with a child, felony child abuse, felony sexual servitude, rape of a child, sexual offense of a child by an adult offender, human trafficking and making a false police report.

She will be tried after McNeill's case is over, but prosecutors aren't seeking the death penalty against her.

West’s closing argument was followed by one from Assistant District Attorney Robert Hicks, who said the state met its burden of proof. He said McNeill was the only person who had the means and the motive to kill Shaniya.

Hicks demonstrated for the jury the length of time – two minutes – that it took for Shaniya to be asphyxiated.

“Every second was an eternity for Shaniya,” he said. “That was a meant-to-do-it murder.”

Alford, who began his closing argument about 3 p.m., reminded jurors that many different stories had been told about his client.

He said the prosecution had “everything wrapped up in a perfect package…You’d wonder what in the world I’m going to say.”

McNeill has admitted to taking Shaniya to a Comfort Suites in Sanford but has contended that the girl's aunt asked him to take her there to hand her off to other relatives, who would ensure that she went to school.

Following Shaniya's disappearance and murder, McNeill and the aunt, Brenda Davis, exchanged text messages in which McNeill questioned what was going on.

“There he was, trying to talk to the two people who would have given him permission to (take) Shaniya. Why would somebody want to do that if he had done all the things they said,” Alford said.

He said Shaniya's aunt and mother didn't want to speak with McNeill once the girl disappeared.

"You think that would be the main person they'd want to talk to, don't you?" Alford said.

McNeill signed his own name at the hotel when he checked in with Shaniya and allowed himself to be videotaped on security camera – actions not fitting a guilty person, Alford said.

McNeill also had no scratches on him, he said, and Shaniya did not appear to be crying or upset while she was at the hotel with him.

Alford also said the body would have shown more signs of decomposition had she been in the woods for six or seven days.

"The package is not complete," Alford said of the state's case.

The defense finished half of its closing before court recessed Tuesday. Attorney Butch Pope will continue Wednesday morning.

 
 

Accused child killer presents no defense in death penalty trial

By Bryan Mims - Wral.com

May 16, 2013

Fayetteville, N.C. — A Fayetteville man accused of raping and killing a 5-year-old girl more than three years ago has elected not to present any evidence in his death penalty trial.

Mario Andrette McNeill, 32, is charged with murder, kidnapping and rape in the death of Shaniya Davis. Her body was found on Nov. 16, 2009, in a kudzu patch off N.C. Highway 87 on the Lee-Harnett county line, six days after her mother reported her missing from their Fayetteville mobile home.

Closing arguments are scheduled for Tuesday morning. If the eight-man, four-woman jury finds him guilty, they would then hear evidence before deciding whether to sentence him to life in prison without parole or death.

Prosecutors called 44 witnesses over the past three weeks before resting their case Thursday morning.

Retired Fayetteville police Sgt. Chris Corcione was the final state witness, summing up the more than five hours of McNeill's videotaped interview with police that jurors watched Wednesday.

McNeill had surrendered to police after they identified him from a security video as having taken Shaniya to a Sanford hotel shortly after she disappeared. They grilled him for nearly six hours as they clung to the hope that she was still alive.

"Early on in the interview, it was clear Mr. McNeill was in denial mode," said Corcione, who led the questioning of McNeill.

"At one point in the interview, I thought it would be a good idea to plant a seed in his mind that someone told him to take the child," Corcione said. "I wanted him to grab onto that story and use that to legitimize the fact that he had the child."

McNeill repeatedly denied even knowing Shaniya for about the first two hours of the interview, but he later told police that the girl's aunt asked him to take her to the Sanford hotel and hand her off to relatives who would ensure that she went to school.

Investigators told McNeill that his story sounded implausible and that a log of text messages to and from his cellphone didn't back him up.

"You killed that baby, didn't you?" Corcione asked during the interview.

"No, no, no," McNeill insisted.

"No reasonable person would take a strange 5-year-old person from the front porch," Corcione said. "You killed that little girl because you had to get rid of her because she's evidence of the crime."

"No, no, no," McNeill said.

A couple of days later, McNeill's attorney provided information that led investigators to Shaniya's body. An autopsy determined that she had been suffocated and had injuries "consistent with a sexual assault."

Defense attorney Terry Alford asked that all charges be dismissed against McNeill for insufficient evidence, but Superior Court Judge Jim Ammons denied the motion.

Ammons then advised McNeill of his right to remain silent.

"You should think about this long and hard before making this decision. It's your decision, not mine, not anybody else's," Ammons said.

McNeill said Thursday afternoon that he wouldn't testify, and his attorneys rested without offering any evidence.

 
 

Police to McNeill: 'You killed that baby, didn't you?'

By Bryan Mims - Wral.com

May 15, 2013

Fayetteville, N.C. — Police grilled a Fayetteville man for nearly six hours in November 2009 as they searched for a missing 5-year-old girl, alternating between accusing him of killing her and pleading with him for information on where she was.

An eight-man, four-woman jury watched a videotape Wednesday of the entire interview with Mario Andrette McNeill as prosecutors prepared to wrap up their case in his capital murder trial.

Shaniya Davis was found on Nov. 16, 2009, in a kudzu patch off N.C. Highway 87 on the Lee-Harnett county line, six days after her mother reported her missing from their Fayetteville mobile home.

McNeill, 32, is charged with murder, kidnapping and rape in her death.

He insisted Tuesday on having jurors hear the full interview, despite warnings from his attorneys and Superior Court Judge Jim Ammons that they also would learn about his previous conviction for shooting three people and various drug arrests.

Former Fayetteville police Sgt. Chris Corcione led the questioning of McNeill, who surrendered to police after they identified him from a security video as having taken Shaniya to a Sanford hotel shortly after she disappeared.

McNeill initially denied knowing Shaniya and said the person in the video wasn't him.

"You have more information than I do," Corcione said.

"Actually, I haven't," McNeill responded.

"What you're doing now is you're making it worse – one lie after another," Corcione said later in the interview. "If there was a time in your life you need to be perfectly honest, it's now."

As McNeill continued to deny taking Shaniya to Sanford, Corcione called him "an absolute fool" and said a jury "is going to be laughing at you" for lying to police.

"You like to (molest) little girls," he said. "That's what everybody is thinking."

"A long time ago, I stopped worrying about what everybody thinks," McNeill said.

"I need you to do the right thing and tell me where this princess is," Corcione said. "The evidence has led me to you. The evidence, as it is now, is what is going to destroy you.

"Only a person who's hiding something dark can sit here and not tell me what's going on," he continued. "'What are you hiding, buddy?"

"I have nothing to hide," McNeill said.

About two hours into the interview, he changed his story and admitted to taking Shaniya to the hotel after getting a text message from her aunt asking him to hand her off to somebody.

"I didn't think it would go this far," he said.

Corcione and another police investigator said McNeill's story sounded implausible, and an FBI agent said a log of texts to and from McNeill's cellphone didn't jibe with his story.

"You take a child you've never seen before, drive her to Sanford and then come back to Fayetteville and give her to people you didn't even know?" the unidentified investigator asked during the interview.

"We have no proof that you gave her to somebody else," Corcione said. "You need to help me figure out who that someone else is."

"I don't know. I don't know. I don't know," McNeill said as police repeatedly asked him where Shaniya was.

""You killed that baby, didn't you?" Corcione said.

"No, no, no," McNeill insisted.

"No reasonable person would take a strange 5-year-old person from the front porch," Corcione said. "You killed that little girl because you had to get rid of her because she's evidence of the crime."

"No, no, no," McNeill said.

When he refused to speak with investigators further, they balked.

"We can't accept that," an FBI agent said. "We have a missing 5-year-old girl who was in your possession.

"Show some respect and open your eyes. Sit up! Sit up in your chair!" the agent yelled at McNeill.

"Do you have your evidence?" McNeill asked investigators later. "You have everything you have. Do what you have to do."

"You admit having her between Fayetteville and Sanford," the FBI agent said.

"I take everything I said back," McNeill responded. "I make bad decisions sometimes."

When investigators left the room, McNeill made a couple of cellphone calls.

"They're trying to charge me with everything," he said on the phone. "Everybody's calling me and texting me about it now."

McNeill eventually gave police information that led investigators to Shaniya's body. An autopsy determined that she had been suffocated and suffered injuries "consistent with a sexual assault" shortly before she died.

Investigators say Shaniya's mother, Antoinette Nicole Davis, sold her daughter to McNeill to pay off a drug debt.

She is charged with first-degree murder, indecent liberties with a child, felony child abuse, felony sexual servitude, rape of a child, sexual offense of a child by an adult offender, human trafficking and making a false police report.

She will be tried after McNeill's case is over, but prosecutors aren't seeking the death penalty against her.

 
 

Medical examiner: Shaniya Davis was sexually assaulted, suffocated

By Bryan Mims - Wral.com

May 8, 2013

Fayetteville, N.C. — A 5-year-old Fayetteville girl was sexually assaulted before she was killed more than three years ago, a medical examiner testified Wednesday.

Shaniya Davis was found on Nov. 16, 2009, in a kudzu patch off N.C. Highway 87 on the Lee-Harnett county line, six days after her mother reported her missing from their Fayetteville mobile home.

Mario Andrette McNeill, 32, is charged with murder, kidnapping and rape in Shaniya's death. He could face the death penalty if convicted of murder.

Dr. Thomas Clark, the former deputy chief medical examiner for North Carolina, said the girl's body was partially decomposed and could have been in the overgrown area for days before it was found. She was wearing a only sweatshirt and striped underpants and was covered in leaves, twigs and vines, he said.

Clark said she had abrasions around her vagina that were "consistent with a sexual assault" that occurred shortly before she died. He also noted a bruise on her cheek that could have been left by a hand as she was suffocated.

"There is no other reason this child is dead," he testified, noting there were no other signs of trauma that would have killed her. "Thus, I concluded (the cause of death) is external airway obstruction, or asphyxiation."

Clark said there was no evidence that Shaniya was strangled, and he said it would have taken her killer a few minutes to suffocate her.

On cross-examination, he acknowledged that he couldn't state with any degree of certainty when Shaniya died, and he said the injuries she suffered could have occurred several hours before she was killed.

McNeill was seen with Shaniya at a Sanford motel hours after she was reported missing. His attorneys maintain that he was asked to take the girl there to meet up with relatives who would ensure she went to school.

An FBI agent who analyzed McNeill's cellphone records testified that calls made to and from the phone put him in the mobile home park where Shaniya lived with her family at about 3 a.m. and showed him at the Sanford motel about four hours later.

Shortly before 8:30 a.m. that morning, the phone's signal was bouncing off a cell tower near N.C. 87 about 6 miles from where Shaniya's body was found, the FBI agent said. A little over an hour later, the phone was using towers near McNeill's home in Fayetteville, he said.

Defense attorney Terry Alford requested a mistrial when prosecutors tried to introduce evidence of photos found on McNeill's computer. He said they were irrelevant to the case and would suggest to jurors that they were illegal.

McNeill faces sexual exploitation charges in connection with some of the photos, but the don't pertain to Shaniya.

"Do you realize how close you are (to a mistrial)?" Superior Court Judge Jim Ammons asked Assistant Cumberland County District Attorney Rita Cox. "Is the sole purpose of this witness that he found nothing?"

Cox said she wanted a Fayetteville cyber-crime investigator to provide other evidence.

"Focus on what information you want to get from this witness," Ammons said in denying the request for a mistrial.

Ammons also spoke to a juror Wednesday afternoon after a court clerk said she overheard the woman speaking about the case on the phone during a break.

The juror denied discussing the case, and the judge said she could remain on the jury.

Earlier in the day, Ammons also admonished people attending the trial who he said were "acting in an inappropriate manner" on Tuesday when jurors were watching a video of investigators recovering Shaniya's body.

"If you feel you have to laugh, giggle or cry, get up and leave," he said. "If the bailiff sees you and removes you, you cannot come back."

 
 

Suspect told Fayetteville police he was 'waiting on call to kill'

By Bryan Mims - Wral.com

May 7, 2013

Fayetteville, N.C. — The man accused of raping and killing a 5-year-old Fayetteville girl more than three years ago made a chilling statement to police searching for the girl that he "was waiting to get a call to come and kill her."

Shaniya Davis was found on Nov. 16, 2009, off N.C. Highway 87 on the Lee-Harnett county line, six days after her mother reported her missing from their Fayetteville mobile home.

Mario Andrette McNeill, 32, is charged with murder, kidnapping and rape in Shaniya's death. He could face the death penalty if convicted of murder.

An FBI agent who was called in to assist in the search for Shaniya testified Tuesday that McNeill spoke with Fayetteville police after employees at a Sanford hotel identified him as being with the girl shortly after her disappearance.

"We needed to keep him talking to get a location for Shaniya Davis – that was or goal," the agent said, adding that the interview was contentious at times.

"Mr. McNeill was not telling the truth. He kept changing his story," he said. "He would sometimes giggle. He would sigh, yawn. He was shutting down. Our goal was to keep him talking. We needed to make him understand this was serious business."

After initially denying knowing Shaniya, McNeill told police that the girl's aunt sent him a text message asking him to pick Shaniya up from the family's home. He said he had been sending texts to different women so he could meet with them.

"He continued a story about getting text messages to come pick this child up. He said the hotel was a waiting spot." the FBI agent testified, adding that McNeill was going to take Shaniya to a Fayetteville dry cleaners to meet some unidentified people.

"Did he use a word that changed the focus of the interview?" Assistant Cumberland County District Attorney Robby Hicks asked.

"He was waiting to get a call to come and kill her," the agent replied. "The interviewers, everybody kind of stopped (and asked) 'What did you say?' He actually said he was waiting to come and kill her. When we tried to get him to expand on that, he wouldn't."

During cross-examination, the FBI agent said McNeill later corrected himself to say he was waiting for someone to "get her," not "kill her."

Before the jury returned from lunch, Superior Court Judge Jim Ammons asked defense attorneys to keep McNeill from speaking to any witnesses after he apparently called the FBI agent a liar.

Earlier Tuesday, the eight-man, four-woman jury reviewed photos and watched a 14-minute video showing the overgrown kudzu patch where Shaniya's body was found.

Chad Royal, a State Bureau of Investigation agent who documented the site, said she was under a large log that searchers had to use chainsaws to remove.

"She was lying partially on her right side. Her feet were extended toward an area where there was a body of water," Royal said.

Authorities had to cut the vines to remove her body, but they were so entangled that they left some vines on the body so as not to destroy any evidence that the medical examiner might collect, he said.

"It was a long process to physically remove her, with the log and all the vegetation," he said.

One juror wiped away tears and others were visibly upset by the images. Cheyenne Locklear, Shaniya's half-sister, ran out of the courtroom in tears as Royal described the recovery of the body.

Investigators say Shaniya’s mother, Antoinette Nicole Davis, sold her daughter to McNeill to pay off a drug debt.

She is charged with first-degree murder, indecent liberties with a child, felony child abuse, felony sexual servitude, rape of a child, sexual offense of a child by an adult offender, human trafficking and making a false police report. She will be tried after McNeill's case is over, but prosecutors aren't seeking the death penalty against her.

 
 

Investigator describes site where Fayetteville girl's body found

By Bryan Mims - Wral.com

May 6, 2013

Fayetteville, N.C. — The body of a 5-year-old Fayetteville girl had to be cut out of an overgrown kudzu patch with chainsaws because the vegetation was so dense, a state investigator testified Monday.

Shaniya Davis was found on Nov. 16, 2009, off N.C. Highway 87 on the Lee-Harnett county line, six days after her mother reported her missing from their Fayetteville mobile home.

Mario Andrette McNeill, 32, is charged with murder, kidnapping and rape in Shaniya's death. He could face the death penalty if convicted of murder.

Chad Royal, a State Bureau of Investigation agent who documented the site where the girl's body was found, said she was wearing only a dark-color shirt and pink stripe underwear. Her feet were so white that they appeared as if they had been in water, he said.

"She was entangled in vegetation," Royal said. "The vegetation had to be cut in order to pull her out."

Royal will continue testifying Tuesday, when he will narrate a 14-minute video he shot of the site for the eight-man, four-woman jury. Jurors also will see some crime scene photos, despite the objections of defense attorneys.

Earlier Monday, a hotel worker testified that he saw McNeill leaving a Sanford hotel with Shaniya on the day she disappeared from her home.

Matthew Argyle, a maintenance worker for the Comfort Suites, said he saw McNeill coming out of the rear of the building with the girl lying on his shoulder, covered with a blanket.

"I thought she was asleep at the time," Argyle said. "I said hello to him, and he just walked by. He didn't say anything back."

A hotel clerk testified last week that McNeill had checked into the Comfort Suites with Shaniya about an hour earlier.

Argyle said McNeill put the girl into the back of a car, and he then watched as the car pulled out of the parking lot.

"I noticed him looking back and forth, kind of assessing the situation," he testified.

Defense attorney Terry Alford asked if McNeill "was looking back and forth as if he was looking for someone," and Argyle said that is how it appeared.

Alford told jurors in his opening statement last week that Shaniya's aunt had asked McNeill to take the girl to Sanford to hand her off to relatives who would ensure she attended school.

Argyle said he paid such close attention to McNeill and the girl because he "had a feeling that I should be watching, that something was amiss."

He and another hotel worker called police the next day after an Amber Alert had been issued for Shaniya.

Investigators say Shaniya’s mother, Antoinette Nicole Davis, sold her daughter to McNeill to pay off a drug debt.

She is charged with first-degree murder, indecent liberties with a child, felony child abuse, felony sexual servitude, rape of a child, sexual offense of a child by an adult offender, human trafficking and making a false police report. She will be tried after McNeill's case is over, but prosecutors aren't seeking the death penalty against her.

 
 

Police testify during fifth day of McNeill trial

By Bryan Mims - Wral.com

May 3, 2013

Fayetteville, N.C. — The Fayetteville police officer who headed the search for a missing 5-year-old girl in 2009 testified Friday that a tip from the suspect’s attorney led to the discovery of her body.

Charles Kimble – now an assistant chief for the Fayetteville Police Department - testified Friday, the fifth day of the trial of Mario Andrette McNeill, who is charged in the kidnapping, rape and murder of Shaniya Davis. He told the jury he was a captain during the search for Davis, who had been reported missing by her mother in November 2009.

McNeill was arrested after witnesses identified him as the man holding Shaniya in surveillance images from Sanford hotel, but the child was still missing. Information from an FBI analysis of McNeill's cellphone led officers on a fruitless search for Shaniya along N.C. Highway 87, between Spring Lake and Sanford.

“We mobilized a huge search and rescue effort,” he said. “We had a game plan.”

Then Kimble said he received a phone call Nov. 15, 2009, from Allen Rogers, the lawyer representing McNeill at the time.

“The information he gave me is we should look between Spring Lake and Sanford in an area where deer are killed,” Kimble testified.

The tip helped officers narrow down the search area, he said. Cornel Espirit, a canine handler whose dog found the girl, testified that he found her body in a kudzu patch, partially under a log.

In the courtroom Friday, the jury was asked multiple times to leave because of objections from defense attorney Terry Alford.

Alford tried to block part of Kimble’s testimony, saying the information from he got Rogers was protected under attorney-client privilege.

Cumberland County Superior Court Judge Jim Ammons overruled that objection and another against the state showing photographs of where McNeill lived with his then-girlfriend, April Autry.

The pictures showed motivational posters throughout the home and a kitchen that was closed off. Two dogs were in the kitchen, and the floor was covered in feces.

During cross examination, Alford said the dogs had been left alone in the house for several days after McNeill was taken into custody.

Fayetteville police Detective Elizabeth Culver, who picked up McNeill from the home, testified that he came willingly came to police headquarters. She said McNeill turned to Autry before leaving and said, "You know what this is about."

Alford also objected to other evidence shown from McNeill’s home, including a music CD entitled “Road Rash Jail Break,” saying it was prejudicial.

Testimony is expected to continue Monday.

Investigators say Shaniya’s mother, Antionette Davis, sold her daughter to McNeill to pay off a drug debt. She is charged with first-degree murder, indecent liberties with a child, felony child abuse, felony sexual servitude, rape of a child, sexual offense of a child by an adult offender, human trafficking and making a false police report.

McNeill, who faces the death penalty if convicted, has repeatedly said he didn’t kill the child.

 
 

Soil, calls link man to site where slain Fayetteville girl dumped

By Bryan Mims - Wral.com

April 29, 2013

Fayetteville, N.C. — Prosecutors told jurors Monday that they can link a man accused of raping and killing a 5-year-old Fayetteville girl in 2009 with the location where her body was found.

Mario Andrette McNeill, 32, is charged with murder, rape and kidnapping in the death of Shaniya Davis. He could face the death penalty if convicted of murder.

Shaniya's body was found in a kudzu patch off N.C. Highway 87 near the Lee-Harnett county line on Nov. 16, 2009, six days after her mother, Antoinette Nicole Davis, reported her missing from their mobile home on Sleepy Hollow Drive in Fayetteville.

McNeill was seen with the girl on a Sanford hotel security camera hours after her disappearance, and Cumberland County District Attorney Billy West said in his opening statement that investigators found cocaine and some of McNeill's pubic hair in the room.

Cellphone calls made by McNeill that morning used towers near N.C. 87, West told the eight-man, four-woman jury, and soil found later on the gas pedal in McNeill's car is consistent with soil from the area when Shaniya was found.

West described the wooded area where her body was dumped as having "the stench of dead deer carcasses" and said the body was cold and lifeless when searchers located it.

McNeill has admitted taking Shaniya to the hotel but maintains he didn't kill her.

"He doesn't know what happened beforehand, and he doesn't know what happened after (the hotel)," defense attorney Terry Alford said in his opening statement.

Alford said McNeill was only trying to help the Davis family by taking Shaniya to Sanford to meet some relatives, who would ensure the girl stayed in school. He never tried to hide who he was and lied about it to investigators later only because he's a known drug dealer who doesn't trust police, Alford said.

"He didn't go in with a hoodie on. He didn't go in with a mask on. He just simply walked in," Alford said. "He did fudge a little bit about the girl's situation, but he did tell (hotel employees), 'I got a little girl with me.' It's not like he tried to sneak her into the back of the room."

Superior Court Judge Jim Ammons ruled before opening statements that prosecutors could tell jurors that McNeill's attorneys tipped off Fayetteville police as to the location of Shaniya's body.

Defense attorneys said such information would violate attorney-client privilege, arguing that McNeill provided information based on his original attorney's advice that prosecutors had agreed not to seek the death penalty if he cooperated.

Prosecutors denied there was any deal, and Ammons ruled that McNeill waived his attorney-client privilege by giving police a statement.

Davis will be tried after McNeill's case is over, but prosecutors aren't seeking the death penalty against her.

Investigators say she sold her daughter to McNeill to pay off a drug debt.

She is charged with first-degree murder, indecent liberties with a child, felony child abuse, felony sexual servitude, rape of a child, sexual offense of a child by an adult offender, human trafficking and making a false police report.

 
 

Man charged with death of Fayetteville child

By Bryan Mims, Ken Smith - Wral.com

November 19, 2009

FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. — Three days after finding the body of 5-year-old Shaniya Nicole Davis in rural Lee County, Fayetteville police charged a family acquaintance Thursday in her death.

Mario Andrette McNeill, 29, of 2613 Pine Springs Drive, was charged with first-degree murder and first-degree rape of a child. He has been held in isolation at the Cumberland County Detention Center on a first-degree kidnapping charge since his initial arrest last Friday.

He surrendered to police after the release of hotel security video from a Comfort Suites in Sanford that appears to show him carrying Shaniya on the morning of her disappearance.

Antoinette Nicole Davis reported her daughter missing from their Fayetteville home on Nov. 10.

In an affidavit for a warrant to search McNeill's 1997 Mitsubishi Galant, investigators said McNeill told them he picked Shaniya up in front of her home and drove her to the hotel.

Davis, 25, was arrested Saturday and charged with human trafficking, felony child abuse–prostitution, filing a false police report and obstructing a police investigation. Arrest warrants state that Davis "did knowingly provide Shaniya with the intent that she be held in sexual servitude" and "did permit an act of prostitution with Shaniya."

Despite the arrests, there was no word of Shaniya’s whereabouts until Sunday, when police said they had obtained reliable information that her body had been dumped in the woods off N.C. Highway 87 near the Lee-Harnett county line.

After extensive searches Sunday and Monday, volunteer searchers found her body about 100 feet off Walker Road in southeastern Lee County on Monday afternoon.

Police Chief Tom Bergamine said Thursday that a preliminary autopsy report shows Shaniya died of asphyxiation.

"Other tests still need to be conducted, so a final report has not been issued," Bergamine said.

Since the discovery of her body, authorities have struggled to resolve jurisdictional questions over who would handle the murder case. Prosecutors must prove where the girl was killed to establish legal jurisdiction to prosecute someone on a murder charge.

Prosecutors in Cumberland and Lee counties met for four hours Wednesday to discuss the issue, and Fayetteville police and Cumberland County District Attorney Ed Grannis met again Thursday.

The Cumberland County District Attorney’s Office finally took the lead on the case, resulting in the charges against McNeill.

Was girl payment for drug debt?

Meanwhile, investigators are trying to determine whether Davis might have given her daughter up to settle a drug debt, said Theresa Chance, spokeswoman for the Fayetteville Police Department.

“Lots of people are saying that, so it’s part of the investigation,” Chance said Thursday.

She declined to comment on whether Davis owed money to McNeill.

Funeral arrangements for Shaniya weren't complete Thursday.

Residents of the Sleepy Hollow Mobile Home Park, where she lived with Davis, held a Thursday night prayer service to remember the girl.

 
 

Police find body of missing 5-year-old

By Sloane Heffernan, Erin Hartness, Adam Owens - Wral.com

November 16, 2009

FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. — The body of missing 5-year-old Shaniya Nicole Davis was recovered Monday afternoon, Fayetteville Police Chief Tom Bergamine said.

The child was first reported missing from her home, at 1116-A Sleepy Hollow Drive, by her mother last Tuesday morning. On Friday, Mario Andrette McNeill, 29, was charged with first-degree kidnapping, and late Saturday, her mother, Antoinette Nicole Davis, 25, was arrested on accusations that she prostituted her daughter.

Fayetteville police obtained information Sunday that Shaniya's body was dumped along Walker Road, off N.C. Highway 87, near the Lee-Harnett county line, said Theresa Chance, spokeswoman for the Fayetteville Police Department. About 250 law enforcement agents and volunteers searched the area Monday morning.

Searchers focused on an area about 6 miles from the last confirmed sighting of Shaniya. She was seen on security video at the Comfort Suites hotel in Sanford, along with a man who police believe is McNeill, last Tuesday morning.

Chance said volunteers assisting in the search found the body about 100 feet off Walker Road.

One man who found the body said the girl was lying on the ground and was wearing only a T-shirt.

"At least (the family) will have some sort of closure out of this, hopefully, by the body being found, and maybe they will be able to put away whoever is responsible," said the man, who didn't want to be identified.

"It's just a shame," he said. "I came out here because I've got two daughters. Looking at (Shaniya's father) pleading for his daughter to get found, you just get that feeling in your stomach, and you just want to come out and help in any way that you can."

A forensics team from the State Bureau of Investigation was brought in late Monday afternoon to exhume the body without disturbing any other evidence at the crime scene, Chance said.

It might be several days before members of her family can identify the body, she said.

"You always hold out hope that you're going to be able to reunite, especially with their family, safely," she said. "It's a very sad ending. It's very difficult."

Antoinette Davis made her first court appearance Monday afternoon and quietly told a judge she understood the charges against her. The judge appointed an attorney for her and set her next court date on Dec. 3.

Arrest warrants state that Davis "knowingly provide(d) Shaniya Davis with the intent that she be held in sexual servitude" and she "permit(ted) an act of prostitution."

Cumberland County Detention Center officials put her in isolation for her own protection. She was being held under a $51,000 bond.

Outside of court, Davis' aunt, Yvonne Mitchell, said the family is as stunned by the charges against her as they are heart-broken over Shaniya's death.

"She was only 5. What could she have done for somebody to have done this to her?" Mitchell said of her grand-niece's slaying.

She said the family would help Davis through the situation, adding that they don't believe she was involved in Shaniya's disappearance.

"I think she took care of her kids very well. I think she did the best she could," Mitchell said. "If there was anything wrong, it was hidden very good."

Davis worked in the kitchen at Carolina Inn at Village Green, an assisted living facility in Fayetteville.

Last week, police said that the Cumberland County Department of Social Services had been involved with the family previously over custody issues.

DSS Director Brenda Jackson declined to comment Monday.

Mitchell said she doesn't know why DSS was involved with the family, noting the Davis' children were happy every time she saw them.

"I don't really know why they were called or why they were involved in her life. Maybe they should have done a little bit more than what they did, and this wouldn't have happened," she said.

Father, aunt begged for child's safe return

Before the body was found, Shaniya's father and aunt appeared on CBS' "Early Show" Monday to beg for the girl's safe return.

"I just ask that, at this time, please just let her go," said Shaniya's aunt, Carey Lockhart-Davis. "She doesn't deserve this. Have a kind heart."

Bradley Lockhart and his sister cared for the girl until last month, when she went to live with her mother. Davis had worked to get her life together and had been working for at least six months and gotten a place of her own, Lockhart said.

"She had asked if she could be a mother, and I felt she was sincere in asking, and I figured to give her a chance," he said.

Lockhart-Davis, who isn't related to Antoinette Davis, recalled happy times with Shaniya, when the girl would come home from school showing off marks for good behavior.

"She's a precious, little angel, full of joy," Lockhart said. "A little reserved when you first meet her, but once she gets to know you, she just runs around, plays and won't leave you alone."

Neighbors of the Lockhart family in Fayetteville said Shaniya was very polite and full of life.

"She was very happy and cute as a can be," said Leslie Rollston, whose daughter played with Shaniya. "She just had wonderful manners."

Rollston said Lockhart is a good father and neighbor who always helps out when needed.

"I just can’t imagine the pain he’s going through,” she said. “We were all praying for a different outcome.”

Holly Perry said she and other neighbors now face the difficult task of explaining Shaniya's death to their children.

"It's very hard because they really don't understand the whole concept of death," Perry said.

Vigils held for Shaniya

A candlelight vigil was held Monday evening at the Family Dollar parking lot on Murchison Road in Fayetteville for Shaniya. Among the estimated 500 people in attendance was her father.

"Lord, I come to you with open arms and it is hard. It is hard," Lockhart said.

Lockhart’s legs were shaking and tears were in his eyes as he spoke to the crowd.

“Don’t give up on me and don't give up on Shaniya,” he said.

Candles, flowers and teddy bears were placed on the ground in remembrance of the girl.

“If you have got children, just love them. That is all you can do, just love them,” vigil attendee Gloria Campbell said.

Ann Summers, Antoinette's mother and Shaniya's grandmother, stood on the edges of the vigil assembly.

"I cannot believe this is happening,” she said.

Summers said she does not believe her daughter hurt Shaniya.

"I don't think she had anything to do with it, but I am not going to incriminate her or down rate her,” she said.

Over 100 people attended another vigil held at the same time on Walker Road, near the Lee-Harnett county line.

People lit candles, sang songs and prayed for Shaniya. They also urged everyone to help keep children out of harms way.

“Keep an eye on your kids, an eye on your neighbors’ kids,” vigil attendee Gene Forshey said.

 

 

 
 
 
 
home last updates contact