Seven jurors seated in Fayetteville death penalty trial
Posted April 10, 2013
Updated April 22, 2013
Fayetteville, N.C. — Jury selection is moving along in the capital murder trial of the man accused of raping and killing a 5-year-old Fayetteville girl in 2009.
Mario Andrette McNeill, 32, is charged with kidnapping, rape and murder in the death of Shaniya Davis.
Seven jurors – five women and two men – had been seated by Wednesday morning, meaning five more and at least three alternates must be selected before testimony can be heard.
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 on Tuesday rejected a deal that would have spared his life if he agreed to plead guilty in the case. His lawyers say he maintains he didn't kill the girl.
An autopsy determined that Shaniya died of asphyxiation and that injuries she suffered were consistent with a sexual assault. A medical examiner noted in the autopsy that investigators believe the girl was used to pay off a drug debt.
Antoinette Davis 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, and prosecutors aren't seeking the death penalty against her.