Local News

Trial in Fayetteville girl's kidnapping, death postponed

Posted February 7, 2013 3:19 p.m. EST

Shaniya Nicole Davis

— The trial of a man accused of buying, raping and killing a 5-year-old Fayetteville girl in November 2009 has been delayed until April.

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.

Jury selection in his capital trial was supposed to begin Feb. 18, but it has been rescheduled for April 8 after defense attorneys were granted more time to review evidence.

Defense attorneys Butch Pope and Terry Alford said 13 items are still at the State Bureau of Investigation, and they need to determine whether they should hire their own expert to examine them.

The defense also is trying to hire a geologist to review the state's analysis of soil samples from the kudzu patch.

Also, Cumberland County District Attorney Billy West told the defense that the results of DNA tests conducted out of state on seven hairs wouldn't be back until next week – a week before the trial was to begin.

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 separately, and prosecutors aren't seeking the death penalty against her.

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.