SBI agents discuss DNA evidence at McNeill trial

Mario McNeal listens to testimony.
May 8, 2013 9:00:00 PM PDT
Jurors in the Mario McNeill murder trial heard from two SBI lab agents Thursday who said of all the evidence they processed for DNA, very few items could be linked to McNeill.

The first lab's agent's test results, from a series of tests, only showed evidence of McNeill's DNA on his own car seat fabric, and on children's clothing from the car. That clothing has not been linked to Shaniya Davis in the trial so far.

Perhaps the most significant part of his testimony involved the hotel comforter in which neither Shaniya's or McNeill's DNA was detected. The only DNA came from an unknown contributor.

Then a hair examiner talked about combing Shaniya's body for pubic hair, and discovering nothing.

"The victim was approximately a five-year-old child, would not be expected to have pubic hair," said SBI hair examiner Jennifer Remy. "In that case, sometimes they use the towel to wipe. They can just pick any hair off that they see, but it wouldn't be any of the victim's own 'quote, unquote pubic hair' because she didn't have any pubic hair."

Prosecutor Rita Cox: "You're also trying to determine if there was a transfer from one person to another, and, if there was a transfer, whose hair that might be?"

Remy: "That's correct."

Cox: "In this particular case, there was none?"

Remy: "There's no hairs present."

In cases where unknown contributor's DNA was collected, there is no way to know whose DNA it was, because the only two samples to test them against were Shaniya's and McNeill's.

This testimony is significant for obvious reasons. McNeill eventually admitted to taking Shaniya, and having her at the hotel but not to hurting, raping, or killing her.

The only person who could testify to what happened to Shaniya between the time McNeill left the hotel and the time her body was found is McNeill himself. He could very well testify after the state wraps up its case, which is expected by next Wednesday.

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