McNeill trial for 2009 killing of Shaniya Davis underway - WNCT

McNeill trial for 2009 killing of Shaniya Davis underway

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Shaniya Davis Shaniya Davis
RALEIGH, N.C. -

The trial of Mario McNeill, the man accused of raping and murdering 5-year-old Shaniya Davis in November 2009, began Monday in Fayetteville, with McNeill admitting to some of the accusations against him.

McNeill is also charged with child abuse, human trafficking and sexual servitude.

McNeilladmited he took Davis from her home in Fayetteville in 2009 and admits he was with her at a motel in Sanford, and that he left her. Prosecutors say he did more - raping and killing her and dumping her body.

McNeill is still claiming he did not harm Davis.

The Fayetteville Observer reported that prosecutors have offered McNeill a chance to plead guilty and face life in prison without parole. The newspaper said he has until Tuesday to decide.

Judge James F. Ammons Jr. said he hoped jury selection would be finished by the end of the week, but he said the process could continue into next week. Ammons, prosecutors and McNeill's defense attorneys agreed they would seat at least 3 alternates to the 12-person jury. 

Prosecutors claim McNeill killed Shaniya and dumped her body along Highway 87 in Harnett after assaulting her at a hotel in Sanford. Investigators believe Shaniya's mother Antoinette Davis sold her child to McNeill because she owed him money for drugs. Davis is scheduled for a later trial.

Before the jury selection process started Monday morning, the judge and attorney discussed several logistics of the trial. They agreed the trial would be scheduled for Monday through Thursday each week, allowing a day for the attorneys to work at their offices on Fridays. The trial is expected to last several weeks.

McNeill's attorneys also said McNeill agrees to four statements of fact claimed by the prosecution. They said McNeill acknowledges that:  (1.) he was at the Sleepy Hallow trailer park off Murchison Road where Shaniya lived with her mother, (2.) he left with Shaniya, (3.) he went with Shaniya to a hotel in Sanford, (4.) he left the hotel with Shaniya.

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