Local News

Mother pleads guilty in Shaniya Davis' death

Posted October 18, 2013

Antoinette Nicole Davis listens in court on Oct. 18, 2013, as prosecutors lay out their evidence against her. She entered Alford pleas to nine charges related to her 5-year-old daughter's death in November 2009.

— The mother of a 5-year-old Fayetteville girl who was murdered almost four years ago will spend at least 17 years in prison after pleading guilty Friday to several charges in her death.

Antoinette Nicole Davis, 29, entered Alford pleas to second-degree murder, human trafficking, first-degree kidnapping, first-degree sex offense, felony child abuse with prostitution, child abuse involving a sex act, sexual servitude, indecent liberties with a child and conspiracy to commit sex offense of a child. She was sentenced to between 210 and 261 months in prison.

An Alford plea allows a defendant to plead guilty, while maintaining his or her innocence, because there is sufficient evidence to find him or her guilty. The plea deal, which included the dismissal of a first-degree rape charge, heads off a trial that was scheduled to begin Oct. 28.

Shaniya Davis was reported missing from her Fayetteville home on Nov. 10, 2009. Her body was found six days later in an overgrown field on the Lee-Harnett county line, and an autopsy determined that she had been sexually assaulted and suffocated.

Mario Andrette McNeill, 32, was convicted in May of kidnapping and assaulting Shaniya before killing her, and he was sentenced to death.

Davis apologized to Shaniya's father, Bradley Lockhart, in court Friday, saying she had been too proud to let his family care for their daughter.

"I want to say I did the best I could with my children," she said. "I never said I was a perfect mother, but I was a good mother. I did what I had to provide for them. I did what I had to to make sure they were alright. I didn't have any help from anybody."

Superior Court Judge Jim Ammons tersely disagreed.

"You could have saved your daughter's life, and you did not. You had the time, the opportuity and the means to save Shaniya's life, and you did not," he said. "You are not a good mother. This did not have to happen."

Shaniya Davis, Dead girl's father says he's forgiven mother

Ammons ordered her to register as a sex offender for 30 years and suggested that she receive psychological counseling in prison.

Defense attorney D.W.Bray said Davis always felt morally responsible for what happened to Shaniya.

Lockhart said he still grieves for his daughter but said he forgave Davis a long time ago and that he knows Shaniya did as well.

"Maybe you can take this time and dig deep within you and help others by sharing your story," he told Davis.

The hastily arranged plea followed a pre-trial motions hearing Friday morning in which Ammons denied an attempt by the defense to keep Davis' statements to police out of her trial.

Bray argued that investigators browbeat Davis over four days of questioning about Shaniya's disappearance, and they never advised her of her rights to remain silent or to confer with an attorney. On the fourth day, he said, she finally "broke."

"I gave her to him to cover $200. He was only supposed to have sex," a sobbing Davis told investigators at the time.

Cumberland County District Attorney Billy West said McNeill previously lent Davis $200 to buy food and pay for a hotel room when she and her children were homeless. Information in an autopsy report claimed the debt to be drug-related, but West said that was incorrect.

McNeill came to the Fayetteville mobile home park where Davis lived on Nov. 10, 2009, to have sex with someone else, West said, but when that fell through, he went to Davis' home and demanded that she either pay him the $200 or have sex with him.

When Davis refused, McNeill took Shaniya instead, West said, adding that investigators never believed her claims that she tried to stop McNeill from taking her daughter.

A feces-covered blanket found in a trash can outside Davis' home suggests that Shaniya was sexually assaulted inside, West said.

The rape charge was dismissed against Davis because McNeill was acquitted of that charge, which would have made it difficult to convict her, West said. Also, prosecutors reduced a first-degree murder charge against Davis to second-degree murder, he said, because they didn't feel they had enough evidence to obtain a first-degree murder conviction.


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  • BEACH Oct 25, 2013

    The Father can forgive the Mother all he wants to but some of the blame should be on him, he knew what kind of mother she was, Sold
    her child for 200.00 She got off to easy

  • boatrokr Oct 22, 2013

    She sold her daughter for a $200 debt, KNOWING the child would be raped. She will spend only 17 years in prison.

    Shaniya will never get to be 17. She will never go to her prom, graduate, attend college, fall in love, be a bride, mother and grandmother. Her own MOTHER robbed her of all this.

    This sentence is NOT justice.

  • beachboater Oct 21, 2013

    Incredible. Another story placed the value of a life at $40. This child was valued at $200. Absolutely incredible.

    Prayers for the little girl.

  • shortcake53 Oct 21, 2013

    She had some nerve to stand there and call herself a "good mother". I'm glad the judge set her straight on that.

  • Paidforalittlewhile Oct 21, 2013

    "...$200...he was only supposed to have sex with her..."

    Wow! That alone is enough to put this woman away. 17 years is NOT justice - DEATH is justice. She was "sobbing" because she got caught.

  • josephlawrence43 Oct 18, 2013

    The 17 years is "justice". Fairness however is something totally different and far more stringent and more suitable to her part in this horror story.

  • raymondvanek Oct 18, 2013

    All they have to do is put her in the general population in prison. Those ladies in there will tend to what is needed.

  • sandim50 Oct 18, 2013

    She is getting off light, considering the "laundry" list of charges against her. This is another case where Prosecuters get another easy notch in their
    belts, rather than take a chance on trial.
    BET-BET-BET, she is out in 15 years or less.

  • saywhat37 Oct 18, 2013

    So instead of having sex with him she made her little girl do it! That is beyond sick and wrong and selfish.

  • Bartmeister Oct 18, 2013

    Nice of you to inappropriately drag politics into this, but the Alford Plea has been US law since 1970, and it was a US Supreme Court case involving 1st degree murder. snakeman65


    Easley's name was mentioned because he used it also. Very appropriate I thought.