State News

Defense: Conviction precludes case against Shaniya Davis' mother

Posted October 10, 2013

Antoinette Nicole Davis walks into a Cumberland County courtroom on Oct. 10, 2013, for a pre-trial hearing. She is charged with handing over her 5-year-old daughter to settle a drug debt, and the girl was later found dead.

— 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.

Shaniya Nicole Davis Girl was either sold or kidnapped, not both, lawyer says

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.


This story is closed for comments.

Oldest First
View all
  • scubagirl2 Oct 18, 2013

    "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."

    Now I KNOW that defense attorneys have to do everything possible for their clients but THIS????? NO WAY does the previous trial preclude this one!

  • smtsm Oct 11, 2013

    I don't think one precludes the other. She gave the child in payment for a debt. That's human trafficking - selling another human. Kidnapping is if you take someone from their rightful place, or forbid someone from going to their rightful place. If she "paid" the child to the man, who was supposed to keep her, then he took the child somewhere else without the mother's consent, that could be the kidnapping charge - or, if you view the child as chattel, used as payment in kind, it's conversion (taking something given to you for one thing, and using it for something else).

  • davido Oct 11, 2013

    Fortunately, justice isn't determined by WRAL commenters. Otherwise there would be death penalties for parking tickets or something. Justice may prevail. It doesn't always, but there is a chance.

  • 678devilish Oct 11, 2013

    The mother was pregnant, so it would be interesting if WRAL could tell us what happen to her baby after it was born. Who has the baby?

  • 678devilish Oct 11, 2013

    What about Shaniya's rights there

    A man is sitting in prison for what he has done to her, taking her life, etc.

  • 678devilish Oct 11, 2013

    judge Thursday to dismiss charges against her.

    That would be great. Because I never felt she allowd her daughter to be taken, raped or killed. I do believe she is innocent. The man took the child without the mother knowing. He is now behind bars.

  • PDMARTIN Oct 11, 2013

    Anyone know what happened to the child she was pregant with when she was arrested?

  • stanleygstevens2 Oct 11, 2013

    WRAL moderators are trash

  • stanleygstevens2 Oct 11, 2013

    This breeder should never be free again.

  • oleguy Oct 11, 2013

    Its just sick that our state has let this go on so long, Turn her loose and let her go ,Just let the news reporters know the date and place