Local News

Trial for Shaniya Davis' accused killer to begin in February

Posted August 10, 2012 9:40 p.m. EDT
Updated August 10, 2012 10:27 p.m. EDT

Shaniya Nicole Davis

— The man accused of buying, raping and killing a 5-year-old Fayetteville girl in November of 2009 will go on trial in February, officials with the Cumberland County district attorney's office said Friday. 

Mario Andrette McNeill, 32, 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 her Fayetteville home. 

McNeill and Davis will both go on trial in February.

Authorities say Davis was 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 pleaded not guilty in February.

Prosecutors have said they plan to seek the death penalty against McNeill but not Antoinette Davis.