Local News

Death penalty sought in Fayetteville girl's killing

Posted October 5, 2011 1:18 p.m. EDT
Updated October 5, 2011 2:53 p.m. EDT

Shaniya Nicole Davis

— Cumberland County prosecutors said Wednesday that they plan to seek the death penalty against the man charged with killing a 5-year-old Fayetteville girl almost two years ago but not against the girl's mother.

Mario Andrette McNeill, 30, has been charged with murder, kidnapping and rape in the death of Shaniya Davis, whose body was found in a kudzu patch near the Lee-Harnett county line on Nov. 16, 2009, six days after her mother, Antoinette Nicole Davis, reported her missing from their Fayetteville home.

Authorities believe Antoinette Davis is complicit in her daughter's death. Arrest warrants stated that she "did knowingly provide Shaniya with the intent that she be held in sexual servitude" and "did permit an act of prostitution with Shaniya."

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.

A Cumberland County grand jury indicted Antoinette Davis in July on charges of 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 was arraigned Wednesday, and a judge set her bond on the murder charge at $2 million. Bonds totaling $1.5 million were set previously on the other charges.

McNeill, whom police have described as a friend of the family, is being held without bond at Central Prison in Raleigh.