Man accused in Shaniya Davis killing seeks delay

Mario McNeill appears in court for a pre-trial hearing Friday January 11, 2013. (Lou Guilette)
February 20, 2013 9:00:00 PM PST
Mario McNeill appeared in a Fayetteville courtroom Tuesday with his defense team seeking another continuance.

Jury selection is set to begin April 8 for the man accused of raping and killing 5-year-old Shaniya Davis in 2009.

McNeil was originally scheduled to go on trial Feb. 18 in Cumberland County Superior Court. A judge later postponed that to April 8.

McNeill's defense has said it needs more time to evaluate the evidence and get an expert witness. But Tuesday, Senior Resident Superior Court Judge Jim Ammons turned down the request for a continuance - meaning jury selection is expected to start Monday as planned.

Authorities said the girl's mother gave her to McNeil to settle a drug debt in Nov. 2009. The trial for the girl's mother, Antoniette Nicole Davis, has also been delayed.

McNeill has pleaded not guilty to charges of first-degree murder, first-degree rape of a child, child abuse, human trafficking and sexual servitude.

Police say McNeill assaulted the child in a Sanford hotel before killing her and leaving her body in Harnett County.

He could be sentenced to die if he is convicted.








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