Mario McNeill defies lawyers over interrogation tapes

Mario McNeal listens to testimony.
May 13, 2013 9:00:00 PM PDT
Tension is mounting inside the Fayetteville courtroom where Mario McNeill is on trial for the murder of five-year-old Shaniya Davis.

Those tensions led to a courtroom exchange between McNeill and a Cumberland County judge regarding police interrogation tapes.

McNeill butted heads Tuesday with his defense team choosing to speak for himself. He told the judge that he wants the jury to see and hear all of a six hour long video tape of McNeill being questioned by detectives.

"You understand there are things on that video tape that you are entitled to have them [the jury] not hear," asked Judge Ammons.

McNeill replied, "Yes."

McNeill is charged with the kidnap, rape and murder of Davis in Nov. 2009. He was interviewed three days after the little girl disappeared. During the interview, McNeill allegedly confesses to kidnapping.

McNeill's lawyers just want the jury to hear selected parts of a transcript of the interview. However, McNeil was adamant. He told the judge he wants the jury to see and hear all of his taped interview with investigators.

"If I allow the statement in, you want the entire statement to be presented to the jury? Is that correct," asked Ammons.

McNeill replied, "The entire transcript, the entire video tape. Yes."

Ammons tried several times to convince McNeill to follow his lawyers' advice.

"You understand that you are represented by two excellent criminal defense attorneys," asked Ammons.

McNeill replied, "Yes."

Earlier in the day, his defense attorneys ripped apart a state witness and her expertise.

Department of Environment and Natural Resources geologist Heather Hanna was back on stand talking about soil analysis of samples that were taken from McNeill's gas pedal in his car, near the road where Shaniya's body was found and near her body.

Soil samples were also taken from her mother's home on Sleepy Hollow Drive.

Prosecutors have said Shaniya's mother, Antoniette Nicole Davis, 28, gave her daughter to McNeill to settle a drug debt. Davis will be tried on similar charges but doesn't face death.

Defense attorneys criticized Hanna for not taking more samples, pointing out all the other places McNeill frequented where soil was not analyzed.

"I can't use this evidence to prove innocence," Hanna said.

She added that she could use it to make a "physical link."

"Based on the visual exams of the minerals present, I would conclude that (samples) from the gas pedal is consistent with ... the site of where the body was recovered."

The defense then asked Hanna if she knew who else drove McNeill's car, towed it, or had been there around the time of Shaniya's death.

She admitted Tuesday that she did not.

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