Local News

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

Posted April 29, 2013

— 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.

Mario McNeill in court Defense insists Fayetteville man not involved in Shaniya Davis' death

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.


This story is closed for comments.

Oldest First
View all
  • Country Girlz Have MORE fun Apr 30, 2013

    Keep to the facts...last seen with the child alive. His cell phone records ping off hwy 87 where her body was found(wonder who he called). He told police where to find her body. Soil matches. McNeill even admitted he is a know drug dealer (drug debt). I wonder if Ms Davis will be describing for the jury what happened trying to save her own rear...

  • vile garbage Apr 30, 2013

    @Lightfoot3 OK Gotcha. Thanks.

  • Lightfoot3 Apr 30, 2013

    “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.” – article

    While I think him guilty and he should face the ultimate punishment, I do wonder how “near” they are talking about how “consistent” the soil is. I’ve seen that the state and the defense will say and do anything to win, regardless of the truth.

  • Lightfoot3 Apr 30, 2013

    “What is GOLO?” - vile garbage

    It was the previous incarnation of the WRAL online commentary. Its moto was Go Local, Talk Local, Share Local. It allowed you to have a profile with images, articles you could author and debate, etc. While a great resource, its downfall can be attributed to online bullies, online whiners, and the mismanagement of WRAL in trying to control them. It actually had great potential but WRAL didn’t have the leadership with the skills, knowledge, and vision to manage it. At the breaking point, instead of just addressing the issues WRAL decided to nuke it from orbit so now what’s left is only heavily moderated commentary on station articles.

    I actually saved all my articles from the site and have been thinking about posting them on my own website for preservation.

  • Proud Liberal Apr 30, 2013

    Whomever the cold blooded killer is he or she must pay for this unforgiveable act. If there are racist on this jury he/she must be excused and the judge must put alternatives on the jury panel.

  • vile garbage Apr 30, 2013

    At the risk of sounding dumb I have a question. What is GOLO? I did a search of it and I'm pretty sure you guys aren't referencing a chain of retail stores in Australia.

  • JustOneGodLessThanU Apr 30, 2013

    I see the judgmental and racist GOLOers are out in force. They are basically saying... “Well, that's all the information we need. And, just look at his picture! He's clearly guilty of everything the police say, so skip the trial and put him to death immediately.”

  • DontVote4LiarsCheatsOrThieves Apr 29, 2013

    North Carolina Home - "In the big picture, why is this important?"

    It was something someone else said. I was just responding.

  • North Carolina Home Apr 29, 2013

    I agree, Iak Hsehpen, that in the end, this precious child had nobody. Only the users and abusers.

  • North Carolina Home Apr 29, 2013

    "In fact I'd bet you any money this guy got no free cell phone."
    Iak Hsehpen

    In the big picture, why is this important?