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Death penalty sought the murder of Shaniya Davis…

October 6, 2011 4 comments

Fayetteville, Cumberland County, North Carolina prosecutors said Wednesday that they plan to seek the death penalty against the man charged with killing a 5-year-old Fayetteville girl, Shaniya Davis almost two years ago but not against the girl’s mother.

Mario Andrette McNeill, 30, has been charged with murder, kidnapping and rape in the death of Shaniya Davis, whose body was found in a kudzu patch near the Lee-Harnett county line on Nov. 16, 2009, six days after her mother, Antoinette Nicole Davis, reported her missing from their Fayetteville home.

Authorities believe Antoinette Davis is complicit in her daughter’s death. Arrest warrants stated that she “did knowingly provide Shaniya with the intent that she be held in sexual servitude” and “did permit an act of prostitution with Shaniya.”

An autopsy determined that Shaniya died of asphyxiation and that injuries she suffered were consistent with a sexual assault. A medical examiner noted in the autopsy that investigators believe the girl was used to pay off a drug debt.

A Cumberland County grand jury indicted Antoinette Davis in July on charges of first-degree murder, indecent liberties with a child, felony child abuse, felony sexual servitude, rape of a child, sexual offense of a child by an adult offender, human trafficking and making a false police report.

She was arraigned Wednesday, and a judge set her bond on the murder charge at $2 million. Bonds totaling $1.5 million were set previously on the other charges.

McNeill, whom police have described as a friend of the family, is being held without bond at Central Prison in Raleigh.

Courtesy of WRAL

Will there ever be justice fo Shaniya Davis?  Personally, there will never be ENOUGH justice served for this precious child.

Take care and STAY SAFE!

One year later: Will there be justice for Shaniya Davis?

November 10, 2010 Comments off

Five-year-old Shaniya Davis had barely begun to live when she was raped and strangled and her body dumped on the side of a road near the Harnett-Lee county line in November 2009.

But the ramifications of her horrific death continue to reverberate in the community and in the agencies that investigated her case.

A year later, the fallout continues.

Cumberland County’s Department of Social Services, accused of not cooperating with police in the tension-filled days immediately after Shaniya’s disappearance, was the subject of an investigation sought by District Attorney Ed Grannis.

The investigation came to a close in September, and Grannis has decided not to prosecute DSS officials on charges of obstruction of justice.

But the circumstances surrounding Shaniya’s death have led to the resignation of Chet Oehme, chairman of the Social Services Board, and continue to shine a spotlight on Social Services Director Brenda Reid Jackson, who has been at the center of a firestorm of criticism.

Cumberland County commissioners are now considering replacing Oehme with one of their own in an effort to provide better oversight.

A year after Shaniya’s death, one big question remains: Can Social Services, Fayetteville police, the Board of Commissioners and the District Attorney’s Office put aside their differences and work together?

At 6:53 a.m. on Nov. 10, Antoniette Davis called Fayetteville police to say her daughter, Shaniya, was missing from her home in Sleepy Hollow Mobile Home Park.

An Amber Alert went out just after noon for Shaniya, who had last been seen wearing a blue sleep shirt and pink panties.

Davis and her 7-year-old son spent that afternoon at the police station, answering investigators’ questions.

Two days later, police released surveillance video, taken the morning Shaniya was reported missing, showing a man holding her in his arms in front of an elevator at a Sanford hotel. The video was time-stamped 6:11 a.m.

The man in the video was identified as Mario Andrette McNeill, who turned himself in to police Nov. 13 and was charged with kidnapping.

The next day, Shaniya’s mother was charged with human trafficking and prostituting her child, filing a false police report and obstructing justice.

The search continued for Shaniya as law enforcement and dozens of volunteers combed the woods and swamps in the area of southern Lee and northern Harnett counties.

The search ended about 1 p.m. Nov. 16, when Shaniya’s body was found among the thick kudzu vines that covered woods off N.C. 87 near Carolina Trace.

On Nov. 20, McNeill was charged with raping and murdering Shaniya.

Shaniya was buried in Fayetteville Memorial Cemetery on Nov. 22 after a funeral attended by nearly 2,000 people.

By then, the case had become a national story on television news channels. That’s how NBA star Shaquille O’Neal learned of Shaniya’s death. He paid for her funeral.


A week after Shaniya’s abduction, Social Services Director Brenda Reid Jackson met with homicide investigators at the District Attorney’s Office to review what her department knew about Antoniette Davis and her children.

 

The exact nature of the department’s relationship with Davis’ family still isn’t known. Jackson has used state privacy statutes to keep records of the case out of public view.

But one of Shaniya’s uncles, Michael Davis, told reporters that, before Shaniya’s death, the DSS investigated her mother concerning her 7-year-old son.

Shortly after Shaniya died, the co-chairman of a state task force on child fatalities said a team would be sent to Fayetteville to find out when the DSS first made contact with the family, the status of that case at the time of the killing, and whether proper procedures were followed.

Last week, almost a year later, a spokesman for the state task force said no date has been set for the beginning of that review.

Little else about how Social Services handled the case had become public, either, until Grannis held a rare news conference in September.

During the conference, Grannis said police repeatedly had to go to court to force Jackson to give up DSS records that he said eventually proved useful to the murder investigation.

Even with the court orders, Grannis said, the DSS held back records.

The first indication of that came within a day of Shaniya’s disappearance.

A police detective was told by a DSS employee dealing with Shaniya’s brother that “law enforcement is not getting everything, that they are not being told everything and that there is more to this,” Grannis said at his news conference.

After police figured out that an initial batch of records was incomplete and the county supplied a second batch, a DSS employee told a detective that she was being forced to delete all e-mails related to Shaniya’s case, Grannis said.

Grannis decided not to prosecute DSS officials for obstructing justice because, he said, the e-mails weren’t destroyed but printed out and slipped into case files before they were deleted.

That maneuver, Grannis said, was motivated by Jackson’s desire to keep the e-mails away from reporters, who might obtain them under the state public records law. Everything in DSS case files usually is considered a state secret.

Fayetteville Police Chief Tom Bergamine brought the DSS foot-dragging to the attention of Grannis.

In December, Grannis requested that the SBI look into the county’s cooperation with the murder investigation.

The SBI investigation cast a shadow over the DSS for months.

Jackson wrote Grannis in March, seeking an update on what the SBI had found. When Grannis ignored the letter, the county Social Services Board sent another one in August.

Jackson, who had been briefed on the SBI’s preliminary results by a bureau agent, believed the DSS would be cleared.

Grannis finally responded to the DSS letters in September.

Instead of exonerating the DSS, however, Grannis told Oehme, then the Social Services Board chairman, that he was dissatisfied with the SBI report. Grannis asked Sheriff Moose Butler to take a second look at the report.

Butler’s internal-affairs investigators spent less than two weeks on the case.

On Sept. 30, Grannis called his news conference at Butler’s office.

“To say we were not happy with the quality of the SBI report would be an understatement,” Grannis told reporters. “In my 40 years, I’ve never seen anything from the SBI that bothered me this much.”

Grannis, who is retiring at the end of the year, recounted how an SBI agent told his aides that Jackson said a Fayetteville police officer attempted to break into the DSS building on Ramsey Street. She later changed that account, saying a newspaper reporter had tried to break in, Grannis said.

The district attorney was skeptical. The Social Services Board later issued a statement in which Jackson “unequivocally” denied saying any such thing. “This incident never occurred,” the statement read.

On Oct. 8, the board called Jackson in for a closed-door chat. Emerging from the private meeting, the board issued a statement of support for Jackson. It noted she now is meeting regularly with Bergamine, the police chief.

A few days after the board’s statement, Oehme submitted his resignation, effective immediately.

Last week, Oehme said he wasn’t interested in talking about Shaniya’s case in any depth.

“I feel that Social Services did what they were supposed to do,” Oehme said. “And we’re just waiting for the outcome of the perpetrator and the mother.”

Shaniya’s father, Bradley Wayne Lockhart, still is angry at how DSS handled the investigation.

“I’m angry with DSS for withholding information that could have prevented all this,” Lockhart said in a telephone interview from Georgia, where he now lives.

Lockhart said no one from DSS contacted him after police searched Davis’ home in July and found drugs.

“Why couldn’t they call me and tell me they had raided the house and she (Davis) was under investigation?” Lockhart said.

He said he also was upset that Oehme referred to him as a “deadbeat” in his October resignation letter.

But Lockhart said he isn’t dwelling on his anger. Instead, he’s trying to channel it into something positive.

“We can spend most of our time finding fault and pointing fingers, but unless we find the root cause and change it, we won’t fix the problem,” he said.

Asked if DSS could have done more to prevent Shaniya’s death, Grannis replied: “I don’t think you can say that.”

He drew a parallel with the 2009 murder of Eve Carson, the UNC student-body president who was slain during a robbery in 2008. One of the men accused in Carson’s death was on parole at the time.

“I think DSS has a monumental task trying to deal with a lot of broken situations,” Grannis said. “They certainly don’t fix them all, and I don’t think the rest of us can.”

A year after Shaniya’s death, her mother and McNeill have yet to be indicted.

Antoniette Davis remains out of jail on $51,000 bail.

Davis was pregnant when she was arrested. She has since given birth, and the child has been put in foster care, a source close to the family said.

McNeill is being held at Central Prison in Raleigh for safekeeping until his trial. No date has been set.

Grannis said the case is in good hands, with a trio of proven deputy assistants to handle the prosecution.

Bergamine would not speak about Shaniya’s case or the department’s relationship with Social Services. But he did issue a statement through department spokesman Dan Grubb.

“Unfortunately,” the statement read, “Police Department personnel cannot comment regarding an ongoing investigation, but we trust and expect that the Fayetteville Police Department and the Department of Social Services will work together in a professional manner as need arises without regard to any individual case.”

In an e-mail last week, Jackson said DSS and police lawyers have begun to work together on court orders for records.

She added: “We continue to extend heartfelt sympathy to the family of Shaniya Davis and our community which was affected by this tragedy.”

Shaniya’s father has started Shaniya Speaks, a nonprofit group that works to raise awareness of sexual crimes against children.

The group’s name represents what Lockhart said he is trying to be: his daughter’s voice.

He plans to attend a memorial service, sponsored by the organization, on Nov. 16 in the parking lot of the Family Dollar store on Murchison Road.

Grannis said he hopes the case serves as a lesson about cooperation between agencies in any investigation involving a child.

“I think we saw in this case how important that can be,” Grannis said. “You would like to think that with everything that occurred in this child’s case, there will be more of an effort in that regard.”

As I and many others feel Shaniya was failed by many from Daddy, “Mommy Dearest”, knowingly family members, county offices, law enforcement, the school district to the neighbors that she was being abuse and did nothing to save her.

Still to this day I cannot fathom how her mother was allowed out on bail – the court system has already failed Shaniya and the trials haven’t even begun.

Cumberland DA, NC: DSS ‘dropped the ball’ withholding vital info in the death of Shaniya Davis

October 1, 2010 Comments off

Cumberland DA, NC: DSS ‘dropped the ball’ withholding vital info in the death of Shaniya Davis

I called this one back in my November 24, 2009 post!  “I have posted before…..many individuals, county offices, law enforcement and Shaniya’s school LEFT HER DOWN! Let alone “MOMMY DEAREST”, family members, irresponsible and ignorant friends of her mother’s and the list goes on. In my book, “they weren’t there for her and her well-being”; bottom-line.”

“There are so many red flags, warning signs, bells and whistles in this sickening, senseless loss of Shaniya from so many respects. How in the hell did this happen?; “How could things have gotten to this?” Others MUST BE HELD accountable for their failures as many failed Shaniya.

Cumberland County DSS MUST be investigated as this agency needs an overhaul just as the SBI did.

FAYETTEVILLE (WTVD) — Cumberland Co. District Attorney Ed Grannis blasted the North Carolina Department of Social Services Thursday – saying the agency withheld vital information in the Shaniya Davis case.

Davis, 5, was taken from her Fayetteville home in November 2009. Mario Andrette McNeill has been charged with kidnapping, rape and murder. He was seen on a hotel surveillance video with Davis.

The girl’s mother, Antoinette Davis, is charged with child abuse involving prostitution.

At a news conference Thursday afternoon, Grannis said problems started the day Davis was reported missing when DSS left detectives waiting hours for assistance.

“It was critically important that DSS cooperate in every way to save the life of this child, it does not appear that occurred,” said Grannis.

Eventually, he said it took two court orders to force DSS to handover missing documents that were not included in an initial report to the DA’s office.

Grannis also expressed his disappointment with the State Bureau of Investigation who he said referred to DSS’s lack of cooperation as a misunderstanding – even after interviews with DSS staffers revealed high ranking supervisors told agents on the case to print emails and then delete them to prevent the media from accessing details in their investigation of the Davis Family.

“DSS staff was told to delete emails pertaining to this case, and to not email anymore information,” said Grannis.

A DSS supervisor also alleged a Fayetteville police officer tried to break into DSS offices to obtain information, but later recanted, saying it was a local reporter. DSS has never sought charges against that reporter.

ABC11 asked whether this was a case of criminal negligence. Grannis said because the emails were printed out, there’s no proof they were destroyed.

He said he will not seek criminal indictments, and believes because Davis’s kidnapping, rape, and murder became a high profile case, DSS reacted in such a way to protect its image.

However, he says DSS dropped the ball and failed to protect the 5-year-old.

ABC11 (Raleigh) also asked if the DA’s Office had taken its grievances to the Governor. Grannis said no, insisting that a better spirit of cooperation between police, prosecutors and DSS will result from this incident.

Grannis has enlisted the help of the Cumberland Co Sheriff’s Office to review the DSS handling of the case in order to have “a set of fresh eyes” on the matter.

Respectfully submitted via WTVD-TV/DT

Cumberland DA wants deeper probe of DSS into the death of Shaniya Davis

September 30, 2010 2 comments

Cumberland DA wants deeper probe of DSS into the death of Shaniya Davis

As one year is approaching since the death of Shaniya Davis many close to the case or following updates wonder why Antoinette Davis and Mario McNeill have failed to meet their sentence yet.  June 14, 2010 would have marked Shaniya’s 6th birthday.

It is not known if Antoinette Davis decided to plea her case to avoid a trial.  It is not known if Mario McNeill has entered his trial out of the preliminary process.  And if there is anything we have learned from past murder trials it is this – some trials could take over a year or two in seeking a sentence.

Question is, how far would the prosecution go in solidifying their case against both Antoinette Davis and Mario McNeill?  As far and as long as it takes.

Cumberland County District Attorney Ed Grannis said Wednesday that he’s dissatisfied with a state investigation into the county’s social services department after a 5-year-old girl was kidnapped, raped and killed last year.

“I do not feel that the crucial issues involved in this investigation have been sufficiently answered,” Grannis said in a letter to the State Bureau of Investigation. “I am, therefore, requesting the assistance of the Cumberland County Sheriff’s Office to assist me in resolving remaining questions which I have concerning the Cumberland County Department of Social Services.”

Grannis and Fayetteville Police Chief Tom Bergamine requested the SBI investigation last December after questions were raised about the county’s contact with the family of Shaniya Davis before her disappearance. The SBI turned its findings over to Grannis last Friday.

Shaniya was reported missing from her Fayetteville home on Nov. 10. Her body was found in a patch of kudzu off a rural road near the Lee-Harnett County line six days later.

An autopsy determined that she died of asphyxiation and that injuries she suffered were consistent with a sexual assault. A medical examiner noted in the autopsy that investigators believe the girl was used to pay off a drug debt.

Mario Andrette McNeill, 29, of 2613 Pine Springs Drive, has been charged with first-degree murder, first-degree rape of a child and first-degree kidnapping in the case. Police have characterized him as a family acquaintance.

Shaniya’s mother, Antoinette Nicole Davis, 25, has been charged with human trafficking, felony child abuse–prostitution, filing a false police report and obstructing a police investigation. Arrest warrants state that Davis “did knowingly provide Shaniya with the intent that she be held in sexual servitude” and “did permit an act of prostitution with Shaniya.”

The Cumberland County Department of Social Services previously looked at Davis with regard to her 7-year-old son, not Shaniya, according to her uncle, Michael Davis. The case was closed, and Antoinette Davis was able to retain custody of the boy, her uncle said.

Grannis and Bergamine expressed concerns that DSS case workers were withholding information in the case.

DSS Director Brenda Jackson has previously declined to comment on the agency’s involvement with the family, citing the investigation into the death and confidentiality rules for child welfare cases.

Respectfully submitted via Capitol Broadcasting Company

Shaniya Davis: McNeill Charged with First-Degree Murder and First-Degree Rape of a Child!!!!

November 19, 2009 2 comments

 

 

FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. — Three days after finding the body of 5-year-old Shaniya Nicole Davis in rural Lee County, Fayetteville police charged a family acquaintance Thursday in her death.

Mario Andrette McNeill, 29, of 2613 Pine Springs Drive, was charged with first-degree murder and first-degree rape of a child. He surrendered to police last Friday after the release of hotel security video that appeared show to him carrying Shaniya on the morning of her disappearance.

He has been held in isolation at the Cumberland County Detention Center on a first-degree kidnapping charge since that time.

Antoinette Nicole Davis reported her daughter missing from their home, at 1116-A Sleepy Hollow Drive, Nov. 10.

In an affidavit for a warrant to search McNeill’s 1997 Mitsubishi Galant, investigators said McNeill told them he picked Shaniya up in front of her home and drove her to the hotel.  This IS NOT WHAT DAVIS TOLD THE DISPATCHER according to the tape of the 911 call to report Shaniya missing.

Davis, 25, was arrested Saturday and charged with human trafficking, felony child abuse–prostitution, filing a false police report and obstructing a police investigation. Arrest warrants state that Davis “did knowingly provide Shaniya with the intent that she be held in sexual servitude” (sexual slavery) and she “did permit an act of prostitution with Shaniya.”

Despite the arrests, there was no word of Shaniya’s whereabouts until Sunday, when police said they had obtained reliable information that her body had been dumped in the woods off N.C. Highway 87 near the Lee-Harnett county line.

After extensive searches Sunday and Monday, volunteer searchers found her body about 100 feet off Walker Road on Monday afternoon.

Police Chief Tom Bergamine said a preliminary autopsy report shows Shaniya died of asphyxiation but testing has not yet been completed, a final autopsy report has not been released.

Since then, authorities have struggled to resolve jurisdictional questions over who would handle the murder case. Prosecutors must prove where the girl was killed to establish legal jurisdiction to prosecute someone on a murder charge.

Prosecutors in Cumberland and Lee counties met for four hours Wednesday to discuss the issue, and Fayetteville police and Cumberland County District Attorney Ed Grannis met again Thursday to discuss the case.

The Cumberland County District Attorney’s Office finally took the lead on the case, resulting in the murder charge against McNeill.  Now we will wait to see if murder charges are brought against “Mommy Dearest”, Shaniya was in her custody at the time of the murder and SHE MADE THE ARRANGEMENTS TO SURRENDER THIS BEAUTIFUL CHILD.  As North Carolina carries the death penalty by lethal injection – “shoot” them both up!

Was girl payment for drug debt?

Investigators were trying to determine whether Davis might have given her daughter up to settle a drug debt, said Theresa Chance, spokeswoman for the Fayetteville Police Department.

“Lots of people are saying that, so it’s part of the investigation,” Chance said Thursday.

She declined to comment on whether Davis owed money to McNeill.

Funeral arrangements for Shaniya weren’t complete Thursday.

Residents of the Sleepy Hollow Mobile Home Park where she lived with Davis planned a Thursday night prayer service to remember Shaniya.

JUSTICE WILL PREVAIL FOR SHANIYA.

Based on the following alleged information Shaniya Davis was failed by many:

  • prior DSS documentation regarding Antoinette’s 7 year-old son
  • reports that the mother’s home had been previously raided finding drugs and drug paraphernalia
  • Shaniya’s school system allegedly failed to report to authorities or notify her father that her mother removed her from school in October

RED FLAGS RIGHT AND LEFT WERE GOING UP TO BRING MUCH NEEDED ATTENTION TO SHANIYA’S LIFE OF HELL!

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