Local News

Scant evidence found to link suspect to Fayetteville girl's death

Posted May 9, 2013

— Forensic technicians said Thursday that they found little physical evidence linking a Fayetteville man to the 5-year-old girl he's accused of raping and killing more than three years ago.

Mario Andrette McNeill, 32, is charged with murder, kidnapping and rape in the death of Shaniya Davis. He could face the death penalty if convicted of murder.

Shaniya was found on Nov. 16, 2009, in a kudzu patch off N.C. Highway 87 on the Lee-Harnett county line, six days after her mother reported her missing from their Fayetteville mobile home.

Prosecutors told jurors at the start of the trial last week that a hair was found in a Sanford hotel room to show McNeill was there with Shaniya shortly after she disappeared.

On Thursday, however, three State Bureau of Investigation agents testified about what they didn't find as they combed over the evidence.

DNA analyst Jody West said he found no evidence of any semen on swabs taken from Shaniya's body and clothing.

A medical examiner testifying Wednesday that abrasions around the girl's vagina were "consistent with a sexual assault" that occurred shortly before she died.

Mario McNeill in court McNeill's DNA not found on Shaniya Davis

McNeill "cannot be excluded as an outside contributor" of DNA found on Shaniya's clothing, West said, but he wasn't a match for DNA found on a comforter from the hotel and a blanket found in a trash can outside Shaniya's home.

Forensic examiner Karen Morrow testified that McNeill's shoes don't match a footprint left on the blanket from Shaniya's home.

Trace evidence analyst Jennifer Remy said hair found on the girl's clothing didn't match McNeill. Her testimony is expected to continue when the trial resumes Monday.

An autopsy determined that Shaniya had been suffocated, but it's unclear how long her body was in the woods before it was discovered.

Investigators say Shaniya's mother, Antoinette Nicole Davis, 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. She will be tried after McNeill's case is over, but prosecutors aren't seeking the death penalty against her.


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  • Country Girlz Have MORE fun May 10, 2013

    I thought I read somewhere that dog poo was found all over the floor in his home. I wonder if poo on her blanket came from his dog.

  • Country Girlz Have MORE fun May 10, 2013

    If his lawyer doesn't pull ALL STOPS, McNeill will say his trial was FAIR. I think a man like him will say anything is unfair unless he can get away with murder.

  • Lightfoot3 May 10, 2013

    These are just the facts of the case. Unlike some posters, I'd rather the state tell the truth and not manufacture "evidence" to get a conviction. They have enough real evidence to convict him.

  • vile garbage May 10, 2013

    His lawyer that is working to get him out of what he did is worse than him. I know it's his job, but if that's a requirement he should find another, I can't wait until he dies as well.

  • MonkeyFace May 10, 2013

    hummm... you have proof that he was there at the hotel with the girl via video, and he told you where to find her body.. yea, that right there to me, leads me to believe that he killed that little girl, reguardless of DNA

  • luv2funrun May 10, 2013

    So, who killed her?? If he didn't,he knows who he passed her off to. And if that were the case, wouldn't he be singing like a mocking bird??? And WRAL, does his picture have to appear next to hers?? That's disgusting! Ever thought of a series of pictures rather than side by side??

  • Alexia.1 May 10, 2013

    They so not have to find physical evidence for everything. They know the man had her. They know she was later brutally killed. Either he did it or he gave the girl to another person. Unless he identifies another person, we must conclude she was with him. Maybe the man did not kill her, but somebody certainly did.

  • Hubris May 9, 2013

    If they can prove a grown man raped a 5 year old, that's enough for the death penality. I mean, how is such a thing possible? This is not only unspeakable, but before this happened it was unthinkable.

  • lolly May 9, 2013

    Peopleschamp - I agree.

  • thepeopleschamp May 9, 2013

    "I truly feel that the investigators have done a dismal job in this case. These people need professional training." Hokie 94

    So what would you have done different if you were the detective??? This is Lawyer 101, keep asking the police about something that doesn't exist. They can't say there was semen found if there was none.