Local News

Garner mom found guilty in toddler's death

Posted August 19, 2010

— A jury on Thursday found a Garner woman guilty in the death of her 19-month-old son, whose body was found in a garbage bag in her bedroom closet in November 2008.

Sherita McNeil, of 1852 Spring Drive, was convicted of first-degree murder and concealing the death of DeVarion Gross. The murder conviction carries a mandatory life sentence without the possibility of parole.

At least one juror cried as the judge read the verdict, but McNeil showed no emotion.

"I think that justice really got served today," juror James Powers said after the verdict was delivered. "I hope this lady will not have the privilege to ever hurt another child."

Sherita Nicole McNeil - charged in the death of her 20-month-old Garner mother convicted of child's death

He and other jurors struggled with the picture painted by the prosecution – of a mother who could hate her child.

During two days of deliberations, jurors returned over and over to correspondence and phone calls between McNeil and Ira James, the father of her older daughter. James is in federal prison in South Carolina.

In a letter found by police and read by prosecutors, McNeil writes that "hate" is "all (she) has for" DeVarion and that she doesn't love him and "never will."

"She had opportunities to give up this child and she didn't," Powers said.

Throughout the trial, relatives and caregivers testified that they suspected DeVarion was abused over the course of his short life.

Juror Mary Brown said she was shaken by the image of DeVarion, a defenseless child, being beaten by McNeil.

"You saw the tears of the jurors," said Assistant District Attorney Melanie Shekita. "Even the judge started to cry."

McNeil showed no emotion when the verdict was read. Her defense attorney argued that DeVarion's death was an accident, caused when he fell off a couch and hit his head on the coffee table and that McNeil didn't call 911 because she was afraid Chambers could have her killed.

The boy's remains, concealed in a garbage bag, were found on Nov. 14, 2008, by relatives concerned that they hadn't seen him in weeks. His body had been covered in bleach to hide the odor. Police said the boy was last seen alive Oct. 3, 2008.

Because the remains were so decomposed, the medical examiner could not pinpoint an exact cause of death. Jurors heard from two experts, neither of whom could say definitively how DeVarion died.


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  • reeceeyarnell Aug 20, 2010

    Where are the families & neighbors when these children are being abused, tortured, & murdered? Do you suppose they never cried or screamed loud enough for someone to hear? Do you think for a second they didn't have bruises & other physical signs of abuse present? People need to wake up and protect the innocent victims of child abuse. As for the Department of Social Services...Yes I know you are over worked and underpaid. So are the rest of us! But when I go through the process of reporting a child coming into the hospital with a busted lip, bruises, scalp lacerations, & a black eye, only to be told that it was investigated and found to be "unsubstantiated", then my sympathy for your heavy caseload really dissipates. It makes me wonder how much harm has to come to a child before the state steps in & does it's job by removing them. I know the group homes & shelters stay full, but anything has got to be better than an abusive home as long as it's safe! RIP little one! You ARE safe now!

  • Trixie Aug 20, 2010

    "Throughout the trial, relatives and caregivers testified that they suspected DeVarion was abused over the course of his short life."

    We're so worried about unborn babies but no one seems to care when a kid abused. Every person who did nothing to help this child is also to blame. I hope they can live with themselves.

  • ncguy Aug 20, 2010

    well that about rounds out the whole family tree- all in jail

    Hate to say it but maybe the man upstairs had better plans for young DeVarian

  • OGE Aug 20, 2010

    Glad to see "legal" murder will not be carried out by the State.

  • ranquick Aug 20, 2010

    She has such hatered for this child, maybe now she will find out what it is like to be hated in prison, someone will preform a little bit of Prison Justice on her now and she will hate herself fo what she did to this wondeful child.

  • afbrammer Aug 20, 2010

    I can't understand for the life of me what goes on in people's head when they kill children (their's)or someone else's. I have three(19,6,and 3)and no it is not always easy..
    I don't feel bad or have any sympathy for her, hopefully someone will treat her just as bad as she did him when she goes to prison.

  • prcllh Aug 20, 2010

    This is truly a sad story and sad ending for all involved!

  • ncouterbanks69 Aug 20, 2010

    socialworker - I do not think people want to blame social services. The problem is that 10 to 1 says this woman never worked a day in her life. She lived off the work of others. THAT is a pitiful excuse of life right there. I do not want to go to work either but guess what...I do. It's people like that freeloading murderer that are bringing this country down. Now she will freeload off working taxpayers the rest of her soulles life. A $0.25 bullet would take care of that, she deserves even worse.

  • miss Q B Aug 20, 2010

    I was actually speaking on a comment from someone that was saying some people just can't be satisfied with a life sentence and to get over it...or something like that! I'm not saying people aren't entitled to their own opinion. I am just stating that some can't possibly understand how passionate some may be about this case and the sentence received, until you have actually had a personal experience. Some feel she should have received death and aren't satisfied with life.
    My comment is not all over the map, I was touching on a couple of different subjects that I read on here. I don't hate anyone..well I try not to. I just didn't like a few comments I read. & I don't like the fact that we are so affraid to hand out the death penalty for such a horrible crime.

    PS...NOT a liberal.

  • sap0953 Aug 20, 2010

    He was in the court room because I know him and I saw him on tv sitting in the court room