FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. — Lawyers for the mother of a 5-year-old Fayetteville girl who was murdered almost four years ago asked a judge Thursday to dismiss charges against her.
The body of Shaniya Davis was found in an overgrown area on the Lee-Harnett county line in November 2009, six days after relatives reported her missing from her Fayetteville home. She had been sexually assaulted and suffocated.
Antoinette Nicole Davis, 29, is accused of giving Shaniya to Mario Andrette McNeill to settle a drug debt. McNeill, 32, was convicted in May of kidnapping and assaulting Shaniya before killing her, and he was sentenced to death.
Davis is charged with first-degree murder, first-degree rape, first-degree sex offense, child abuse, sexual servitude with a child, child abuse sexual act, human trafficking and indecent liberties with a child. Jury selection for her trial is scheduled to begin Oct. 28.
In motions filed recently and a 15-minute court hearing Thursday afternoon, defense attorney D.W. Bray argued that the charges violate Davis' constitutional rights. If the charges aren't dismissed, the defense wants to block Davis' statement to Fayetteville police from being introduced as evidence in her trial.
Bray contends that McNeill's kidnapping conviction makes pursuing a human trafficking case against Davis "legally impossible." Either she gave her consent to McNeill taking the child, or he abducted her, Bray argued, but prosecutors can't have it both ways.
He called the case against Davis "fundamentally unfair," saying that, even if consent is given for an unlawful purpose, it's not kidnapping under state law.
Bray also said that Davis wasn't read her Miranda rights before investigators spoke with her about Shaniya's disappearance, so her statement should be suppressed.
Superior Court Judge Jim Ammons said he needed to conduct some research on the defense's arguments, and he didn't say when he would rule on them.
Davis is not facing the death penalty in the case.