FAYETTEVILLE (AP) — Jurors in the trial of a man accused in the death of a 5-year-old Fayetteville girl viewed a video May 7 which showed investigators recovering the girl’s body.
Prosecutors allege Mario McNeill took Shaniya Davis from her home on Nov. 10, 2009, to rape her at a motel in Sanford before killing her and dumping her body just off N.C. 87 near the Lee-Harnett County line. Searchers located the child’s remains after getting a tip on where to look from McNeill’s former attorneys.
State Bureau of Investigation agent Chad Royal testified Tuesday that Shaniya’s body was partially under a log, near bags of deer carcasses and a river, with part of her feet submerged in the water.
Royal said there were no tire tracks or shoe impressions collected near the body. Due to the muddy ground, and fact that so many people had trekked through to find her body, he said gathering shoe impressions was difficult.
During cross-examination, the defense challenged whether the scene was contaminated by volunteer searchers. Defense lawyer Harold “Butch” Pope questioned the way the recovery of the body was handled.
Pope asked if footprint impressions had been taken. Royal said no, and when Pope asked if DNA tissue had been collected from Shaniya’s body at the site. Royal said he wasn’t aware of that happening.
The 32-year-old McNeill could face the death sentence if convicted.
Shaniya’s mother also faces charges that she sold her daughter to pay a drug debt. Antoinette Davis hasn’t been tried yet.