Local/State

Jurors listen to McNeill's police interrogation

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Jurors deciding Mario McNeill's fate began listening to all six hours of his interrogation by police detectives Wednesday.

Prosecutors had wanted to play the most relevant clips from the video tape, but McNeill overrode the advice of his attorneys and demanded jurors hear the entire tape.

Prosecutors allege McNeill took 5-year-old Shaniya Davis from her home in the early morning hours of November 10, 2009 to rape her at a motel in Sanford before killing her and dumping her body in an area known to be a place deer hunters dump carcasses just off N.C. Highway 87 near the Lee-Harnett County line. Searchers finally located the child's remains after getting a tip on where to look from McNeill's former attorneys.

Surveillance video pictures from the Sanford hotel show McNeill carrying the child towards an elevator, but when he spoke with detectives, he initially denied it was him.

"What are you taking a little girl into a hotel room for?" asked detective Chris Corcione. "What are you taking a little girl into a hotel room for and spending an hour?"

"That's not me," said McNeill.

"It's not you? Oh my goodness. This guy who's not you checked into the hotel? This guy who's not you was driving your car?" said Corcione, showing McNeill the surveillance pictures. "Holy ****, you've got a double!"

"See, I'm laughing at you and you know what a jury is going to do? They're going to laugh hysterically at you as they go into a jury room and give you life in prison," said Corcione.

Later, investigators pressed McNeill to confess.

"You killed that baby, didn't you?" said the investigator.
"No," said McNeill.
"You have killed that baby," said the investigator.
"No, No," said McNeill.
"No reasonable person would just take a total strange 5 year old off a front porch and drive away with her. No reasonable person would do that," said the investigator.

McNeill is charged with first-degree murder, first-degree rape of a child, first-degree kidnapping, human trafficking with a child victim, sexual servitude with a child victim, sexual offense of a child and indecent liberties with a child charges. He could get the death penalty if convicted.

It is possible McNeill's defense may not argue a case at all. It's possible the case could go right to jury charge instruction and closing arguments. That could be decided as soon as Thursday.

Prosecutors have also charged Shaniya's mother Antoinette Davis with selling her daughter to McNeill to pay a drug debt. Davis hasn't been tried yet.

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cumberland county, shaniya davis, local/state
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