Jury deliberating in Shaniya Davis case in Fayetteville - WNCT

Jury deliberating in Shaniya Davis case in Fayetteville

Posted: Updated:
FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. -

Defense attorney Butch Pope argued Wednesday that the state of North Carolina really doesn't know what happened in the Shaniya Davis murder case, and that the evidence is inconclusive.

Pope is defending Mario McNeill and finished his closing argument Wednesday morning.

McNeill, 33, is accused of raping and killing Shaniya Davis in November of 2009. The girl was five years old.

The state, Pope told the jury, "doesn't know really what happened."

Pope continued his argument by saying the state's evidence does not directly link McNeill to the crimes. He asked the jury to disregard soil sample evidence that prosecutors claimed linked McNeill to the area where Shaniya's body was found. Pope also told the jury it is unclear exactly when Shaniya was killed. He said it may have been more likely that she was killed after McNeill last saw the girl alive.

McNeill's defense has previously claimed that McNeill dropped off Shaniya with friends of her family.

The jury began its deliberations before noon. The jury asked for a clarification of the kidnapping law and a definition of parental consent.

The prosecution has claimed that McNeill took Shaniya from her home in Fayetteville and sexually assaulted her at a hotel in Sanford. They presented cell phone data and soil samples that they believe puts McNeill in the area where Shaniya's body was found. They also told the jury that McNeill's first defense attorney told police where to find the girl's body.

McNeill could face the death penalty if convicted.

On Tuesday, Cumberland County District Attorney Billy West took nearly three hours Tuesday morning to summarize his case against Mario McNeill. McNeill is on trial on charges of raping and killing 5-year-old Shaniya of Fayetteville in November 2009.

West reviewed all the evidence presented against McNeill during testimony. He also once again went over the timeline of the crime. He told jurors that McNeill took the girl from her home to a hotel in Sanford where he raped her. He said McNeill then drove the girl 20 minutes down the road, suffocated her and dumped her body under a log and kudzu vines.

"The defendant doesn't want to face the music now," West told the jury. West also said to the jury that McNeill thought he was smarter than the jury and that he expected the jurors to let him walk out of the courtroom.

Assistant D.A. Robby Hicks reviewed each charge against McNeill and why the prosecutors believe McNeill is guilty.

"Tell the defendant that you know he did it," Hicks said to the jury. "Tell him with a verdict that says 'we're bringing you justice Shaniya. You deserve it.'"

McNeill's defense argued that he dropped of Shaniya with unidentified friends of her family and never saw her again. Defense attorney Terry Alford said there is too much circumstantial evidence, and not enough direct evidence, to convict McNeill.

"Have they connected all the dots or is the diagram a little confused?" Alford asked the jury, referring to a diagram of soil samples used as evidence.

Brandon Herring

Brandon is a North Carolina native and UNC alum who lives in Fayetteville, and covers Cumberland County and the Sandhills. Returning to North Carolina to work as a journalist is a dream come true for Brandon. More>>

  • Most Popular StoriesMost Popular StoriesMore>>

  • Mom bites off dog's ear to save daughter during attack

    Mom bites off dog's ear to save daughter during attack

    Tuesday, April 22 2014 2:49 PM EDT2014-04-22 18:49:19 GMT
    Image from CNN/KHOU-TVImage from CNN/KHOU-TV
    In a backyard in Alvin, swings a very lucky girl. Her name is Mackenzi Plass, or Kenzi for short, and she survived a dog attack and has undergone several surgeries."She'll be two and a half in May," said her very proud mother Chelsi Camp. "She's doing great. You wouldn't know it if you couldn't see."Mackenzi has scars on her face after the ordeal just weeks ago that put her mother's animal instincts to the test."You do whatever you can," said Camp. "I don't have physical strength at my side."...
    In a backyard in Alvin, swings a very lucky girl. Her name is Mackenzi Plass, or Kenzi for short, and she survived a dog attack and has undergone several surgeries."She'll be two and a half in May," said her very proud mother Chelsi Camp. "She's doing great. You wouldn't know it if you couldn't see."Mackenzi has scars on her face after the ordeal just weeks ago that put her mother's animal instincts to the test."You do whatever you can," said Camp. "I don't have physical strength at my side."...
  • Mom wins lawsuit against TSA after breast milk screening problems

    Mom wins lawsuit against TSA after breast milk screening problems

    Wednesday, April 23 2014 4:40 PM EDT2014-04-23 20:40:54 GMT
    A Southern California woman who was held at a Phoenix airport four years ago after refusing to have her breast milk X-rayed has reached a settlement with the Transportation Security Administration. Stacey
    A Southern California woman who was held at a Phoenix airport four years ago after refusing to have her breast milk X-rayed has reached a settlement with the Transportation Security Administration. Stacey
  • Owner of Raleigh 'Party Mansion' guilty of tax evasion

    Owner of Raleigh 'Party Mansion' guilty of tax evasion

    Monday, April 14 2014 4:07 PM EDT2014-04-14 20:07:04 GMT
    Claude Verbal II, who now lives in Miami, pleads guilty to a number of federal tax evasion charges.
    Claude Verbal II, who now lives in Miami, pleads guilty to a number of federal tax evasion charges.
Powered by WorldNow

3221 South Evans Street
Greenville N.C. 27834

Telephone: 252.355.8500
Fax: 252.355.8568
Email: newsdesk@wnct.com

Can't find something?
Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Media General Communications Holdings, LLC. A Media General Company.