Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Justice for Shaniya Davis!

Fayetteville child killer sentenced to death

Mario McNeill in court

A Cumberland County jury deliberated less than 40 minutes Wednesday before deciding that Mario Andrette McNeill should die for the November 2009 death of 5-year-old Shaniya Davis.
The eight-man, four-woman jury last week convicted McNeill, 32, of first-degree murder, first-degree kidnapping, sexual offense of a child, indecent liberties with a child, human trafficking and sexual servitude in connection with her death.
That decision took almost eight hours over two days, but jurors didn't even have to call out for lunch Wednesday before handing down the death sentence.
"I submit to you, without hesitation, that the only punishment appropriate in this case – for these crimes – is the death penalty," Assistant Cumberland County District Attorney Robby Hicks said in his closing argument Wednesday morning.
McNeill, who is the first person to be sentenced to death in Cumberland County in six years, declined to make a statement in court.
Shaniya's father, Bradley Lockhart, berated McNeill after the sentence was announced, saying he treated the entire trial as a joke and his demeanor made a mockery of the court.
"The media glorifies you as you walk in with smirks and smiles," Lockhart said. "I'm not going to worship you. I'm going to pray for you."
He added: "I think of those last seconds, and you were the last thing my daughter got to look at."
After offering no evidence in his defense during the trial, McNeill told Superior Court Judge Jim Ammons on Tuesday that he wanted no one to testify on his behalf before sentencing. He even forbade his lawyers from offering any closing arguments to jurors.
“My goal was freedom. I lost my freedom. What does it matter after that?” he said.
Lockhart and Shaniya's half-sister wept Tuesday as they described for jurors the difficulty in dealing with her death.
"It's been a long road," Lockhart said Wednesday. "At the end of this verdict, nobody has really won here. I'll never get Shaniya back. You took that from me."
District Attorney Billy West said McNeill showed no remorse for Shaniya's death.
"He showed no regard for her innocence when he kidnapped her from her home in the middle of the night," West said in his closing argument. "He showed no regard for her life when he murdered her and left her along desolate Walker Road."
Before McNeill was taken in handcuffs out of the courtroom, Ammons spoke to him.
"May God have mercy on your soul," he said. "You did not have to kill that child."
Ammons then turned to Shaniya's family.
"I can't give you justice," he said. "The jury has given you what we as humans – the best we humans can do – to give you justice. Justice would be if I reversed all of this, and I can't."
McNeill's mother, Juanita Bell, who left the courtroom in tears Tuesday after her son would not let her testify on his behalf, showed now emotion Wednesday. She and other family members declined to comment.
Shaniya's body was found on Nov. 16, 2009, in a kudzu patch off N.C. Highway 87 on the Lee-Harnett county line, six days after her mother reported her missing from their Fayetteville mobile home.
An autopsy determined that she had been suffocated, and she had injuries "consistent with a sexual assault" shortly before she died, according to a medical examiner.
Assistant District Attorney Rita Cox told jurors that the girl died "a slow, agonizing death," with a "carcass wasteland for her burial site."
Cox said McNeill knew what he was doing the night Shaniya was taken from her home, and he even talked to police a few days later after being seen with the girl at a Sanford hotel "because he thought he could manipulate them."
McNeill insisted in his nearly six-hour interview with police that he merely took Shaniya to the hotel at the request of her aunt, and he then handed the girl off to somebody he thought was a relative who would ensure that she went to school.
"Mario McNeill thinks he's smarter than police," Cox said. "He denies everything – lie, lie, lie and lie."
West and Cox told jurors not to be swayed by McNeill's silence in court.
"It may be to invoke sympathy, it may be a simple act of defiance or it may be manipulation," West said. "I ask you to follow the law in this case.
"There's a lot he'd like you to forget," he said. "He wants you to forget that he had sex with Shaniya after he struck out with the 26 women he texted. ... He wants you to forget that he suffocates the life out of Shaniya Davis."
"Don't let it manipulate you into feeling sympathy for the defendant," Cox said.
Defense attorney Butch Pope said he and his co-counsel, Terry Alford, had never as stubborn as McNeill. If McNeill would have allowed the attorneys to present testimony on his behalf, it may have "put on a human face" and possibly kept him off death row, Pope said.
"As defense lawyers, we can't help but wonder if that would have made a difference, if we would have been able to present the mitigating evidence," he said.
McNeill becomes the 153rd inmate on North Carolina's death row. The last person from Cumberland County sentenced to death was Eugene Johnny Williams, who was convicted in 2007 of killing two people in a dispute over a stolen motorcycle.
No executions have been carried out in the state since 2006.
Investigators say Shaniya's mother, Antoinette Nicole Davis, sold her to McNeill to pay off a drug debt. 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 later this year, but prosecutors aren't seeking the death penalty against her.


    S + K Mum said...

    Good news!
    Just a shame they can't go for the death penalty for Shaniya's 'mother'.

    Apple said...


    Anonymous said...

    What do you think of the Julia law death/ boyfriend statement:

    Peruto said earlier this week in a statement obtained by ABC News:

    “Julia was a beautiful, caring free spirit hippy, who I was blessed to have known. Words can’t express how sad I am to finally have met someone who I believed truly loved me. You should all have someone touch your life, like she did mine. Pray for her. She was an angel.”

    my take: he does NOT say he is sad she died. he only says he is sad that he believed she loved him. which to me means he then felt he discovered that she didn't love him and he had her killed while he was out of town. also he called her a hippie, which is kind of an insult coming from a serious minded lawyer -- and also toward a woman who was working for him. "hippie" could mean - for him - a girl who slept around and was disposeable.

    Nanna Frances said...

    S + K Mum,

    I agree with you! The mother needs the death penalty as well.

    Anonymous said...

    The judge nailed how I felt with his words. The father speaks as a heartbroken man.

    Tania Cadogan said...

    Good, they probably took 40 mins just to go through the paperwork.

    Now they need to do the same sentence for the egg donor.

    hobnob said...


    Anonymous said...

    Off topic. They released the affidavit in the Nichole cable case.

    dadgum said...

    Thank you, jury..

    Anonymous said...
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    BostonLady said...

    Thankfully this jury saw the truth. What was done to this little girl is unthinkable. I agree that the mother needs to also be prosecuted. She gave this little girl to him!

    Baxtie said...

    Off Topic...

    An even sadder end to an already sad story:

    Lis said...


    Lis said...

    Kyle Dube is dreaming if he thinks anyone is going to buy that story.

    Sus said...

    May 16 - Bryan Butterfield told News Center he knew Nichole from when they went to high school together - - and spoke maybe twice. He had forgotten about her until the Penobscot County Sheriff's office showed up at his door.

    May 29 - Police interviewed a young man with the name of Bryan Butterfield, he told police that he had not seen Nichole for weeks.
    The affidavit reads "he suspects Kyle Dube of creating this fraudulent facebook account, he knew that Kyle wanted to have sex with Nichole, but that she refused his advances."

    How could BB know that when he hadn't thought about her since high-school?

    Anne said...

    1/2 way there, now if the mom gets the max possible, hopefully never to be free again, and hopefully all her fellow inmates know what she did.

    sha said...

    Anon @ 5:50 If the punctuation in that quotation is correct, he did say he was sad to have met someone who he believed truly loved him. i.e. Sad he got fooled.

    Hippie is not an insult. Many of us are hippies and proud of it :)

    Deejay said...

    I can't even imagine a mother selling her child to that animal- for drugs! The fake kidnapping report means she KNEW the poor baby would be killed. Evil seeks other evil. I hope they never let that woman out of prison.

    Shelley said...

    I am angry the mother does not to get the death penalty. To me as a mother, she is even more at fault that she gave her child to this man.

    There is nothing more evil that killing your child or handing them off to the killer to do it.

    I just wish these evil people would have to die in the same manner they killed in.

    So they could die with that same pain, fear and horor they so gladly inflicted.

    Trigger said...

    Shaniya Davis was an innocent little girl and that evil man raped, tortured, and killed her, just because he felt like it, without any compassion for his little victim.

    That savage monster deserves his sentence.

    Anonymous said...

    WHY are they not seeking the death penalty against Antoinette Davis??!! She deserves it absolutely as much as McNeill for selling her own poor child to this evil man. They are both pieces of garbage who deserve to be incinerated.