Official arraignment in Shaniya Davis killing

Mario McNeil at a court appearance Feb. 9, 2012

February 9, 2012 10:30:34 AM PST
Two suspects accused in connection with the murder of 5-year-old Shaniya Davis appeared before a judge Thursday for an official arraignment.

Antoinette Davis and McNeill both pleaded not guilty Thursday. Neither said anything during the hearing.

In November 2009, Davis reported her daughter missing. She told police someone took Shaniya out of her home. Days later, the child's body was found in a Lee County ditch.

Davis has been charged with human trafficking, felony child abuse, prostitution and filing a false police report. Investigators said she gave Shaniya to Mario McNeill to settle a drug debt.

A security camera captured McNeill with the little girl in his arms waiting for an elevator inside a motel in Sanford. He allegedly assaulted and choked Shaniya to death before dumping her body.

McNeill faces charges of kidnapping, rape and first-degree murder.

While McNeill could face the death penalty, Davis will not.

A hearing is tentatively scheduled for April to decide on when their cases will go to trial.

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