McNeil doesn't deny taking Shaniya Davis

Mario McNeill enters the courtroom.
May 1, 2013 9:00:00 PM PDT
Thursday, the jury deciding Mario McNeill's guilt or innocence watched surveillance video from a hotel where prosecutors say he took 5-year-old Shaniya Davis to rape her before killing her.

McNeil's defense does not dispute that he took the girl to the Comfort Suites hotel in Sanford on the night of November 10, 2009. But, McNeil claims he took her there at the request of family members and doesn't know what happened from there.

On the witness stand Thursday, hotel worker Jacqueline Lee told the jury she checked McNeill in around 6:11 a.m.

She said he told her he was with his daughter and wouldn't be at hotel for long because he was just stopping to rest on their way to Virginia to see the girl's mom. Said she saw the little girl wrapped in a blue blanket via the hotel's surveillance camera system and noticed her "kinky hair."

McNeill came down shortly after check-in to the breakfast bar where Lee said he got a banana, a muffin and some juice.

"He paused and stopped and looked at the [surveillance] cameras," Lee testified.

Lee got off at 7 a.m. She said the next morning, the breakfast attendant asked her if she had heard about an Amber Alert. Lee said "no" then headed to the check-in computer and saw Shaniya's picture.

She then called authorities, and told them the story.

On cross examination, McNeill's defense asked Lee if she remembered him saying he was there to "meet his people." She said she did not.

Also on the stand Thursday was hotel clerk Regina Bacani who testified when McNeill left the hotel he asked for his $100 security deposit back.

"He told me that he had to hit the road. He has to get is daughter to Virginia to meet the mother," said Bacani.

After he'd left, hotel housekeeping brought Baconi something from McNeill's room.

"It was a small, little clear open packet that had some white residue inside it," she said.

They turned it over to hotel management and it was eventually thrown in the trash, despite Baconi saying she thought it was cocaine.

Seth Chambers told jurors from the witness stand that he was a Comfort Suites guest the evening of November 9.

His room was on the same floor as McNeill. On the morning of the 10th, he woke up between 5:30 and 6:00 a.m. and went downstairs for breakfast before returning to his room for checkout paperwork. When he got off the elevator on the 2nd floor, he said he noticed McNeill carrying a child who he thought was a boy at the time as he could only see hair, head, and torso. He said McNeill nodded at him, and the child flipped hand to acknowledge him.

Chambers said the thing that caught his attention was the way McNeill was holding the child, over the shoulder.

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.

Authorities said the girl's body was dumped just off N.C. Highway 87 near the Lee-Harnett County line.

See It On TV | Report A Typo |  Send Tip |  Get Alerts | Send us photos
Follow @abc11 on Twitter  |  Become a fan on Facebook


Load Comments