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Justices uphold convictions, death sentence in child’s death

RALEIGH (AP) The North Carolina Supreme Court has upheld the convictions and death sentence of a man for the kidnapping, sexual assault and asphyxiation death of a 5-year-old girl who police said was handed over by her mother to settle a $200 debt.

The justices ruled June 8 that Mario Andrette McNeill received a fair trial and sentencing hearing without prejudicial error related to the 2009 death of Shaniya Davis. Her body was found six days after her mother reported her missing. Cameras recorded McNeill and the girl at a hotel.

McNeill unsuccessfully argued that his lawyers had given him ineffective counsel because they told police where to look for the girl. McNeill also said a statement he gave to police was inadmissible.

Shaniya’s mother was sentenced to prison after entering a plea.

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