If Mario McNeill Pleads Guilty, There’s No Trial, No Witnesses, and No Public Airing of the Circumstances Surrounding Shaniya’s Murder

This news just came onto the Fayetteville Observer‘s website.  It’s also been repeated on the ABC-11 affiliate.  Apparently, this is for publication in tomorrow morning’s Observer.   To me, this is unbelievable: Mario McNeill could change his plea to guilty, and thus proceed to sentencing and an instant remand to state prison for life.

Mario McNeill has until today to decide whether to plead guilty in Cumberland County Superior Court to the rape and murder of 5-year-old Shaniya Davis in 2009.

McNeill, 32, is facing the death penalty.

If he pleads guilty, McNeill will avoid a trial and the risk that a jury could sentence him to death, and prosecutors say they would go straight to sentencing, which would mean a life sentence without parole for McNeill.

The trial is scheduled to resume today (Tuesday, April 9) at 9:30 a.m.

On Monday, McNeill’s lawyers pleaded their client not guilty to the first-degree murder, first-degree rape of a child and other charges related to Shaniya’s death, but admitted he was at the mobile home where Shaniya was staying with her mother and an aunt in Fayetteville on Nov. 10.

The defense lawyers acknowledged that McNeill was at a motel in Sanford with Shaniya, and left the motel with her.

The potential plea bargain deal arose during Monday’s first day of McNeill’s criminal case, when the defense presented a memo and other documents to Senior Resident Superior Court Judge Jim Ammons regarding what they claimed had been an agreement with McNeill’s former lawyer, Allen Rogers.

The agreement, said defense lawyer Terry Alford, allowed McNeill to make statements to investigators that helped find the child’s body. In return, the defense said, it was under the assumption that the State would take the death penalty off the table.

“We’re asking the State not to renege on its agreement,” Alford said.

District Attorney Billy West countered, saying, “The documents not only prove there was no agreement, but no discussion of an agreement.”

Ammons denied a request from McNeill’s lawyers to make the case non-capital.

In turn, the defense wanted all evidence, including statements, GPS and telephone records, taken out as evidence.

West said the State maintained all along that if McNeill had been willing to plead guilty with a life sentence, the prosecution would have accepted it.

“He indicated no desire to plead guilty,” West said. “That’s the best as I can describe it.”

So this is what this smirking waste of breath was referring to in that note saying that the state was taking “the hard way.”  He thinks that the state was reneging on its deal by putting McNeill on trial rather than letting him “walk” to spend the rest of his life in prison? Is that what his court-appointed attorneys truly think?  I’m glad that Judge Ammons did not take the bait, but does McNeill still think that he can beat this murder rap and walk totally free?  How?

Life without possibility of parole is no picnic in the park either.  Particularly if you are a child molester or murderer, your life is not worth much, since these  convicts are so despised that they occupy the lowest rung in the prison class system.  Prison murders involving these men are common.  If anything, McNeill would have a delayed death sentence, subject to a shanking by another con who has nothing to lose.  It’s like choosing how someone wants to die, but even guys on death row exhaust every plea for years before they are put to death.

Seems to me that either McNeill is mind-fcking himself, or that this is his attorneys’ line of defense all along: to show up the state’s “mistakes” with a stack of motions or documents that purport that McNeill has no business being tried for anything.  However, if McNeill pleads guilty, it is essentially game-over for any public airing of what happened before and after Shaniya’s death.  A kind of sweeping under the rug  of who did what, how and where.  People would hardly know what really happened.

I don’t believe in the death penalty except for certain cases, and this is one of them: the senseless killing of a young child or baby.  For a lot of people who have been following the ins and outs of the Shaniya Davis case for nearly four years, the idea of  McNeill copping a plea at this late stage is like another lethal blow dealt to the child’s body.  Not only would McNeill be served, but so would the Department of Social Services, Bradley Lockhart, Brenda Davis and other people as well as the County authorities be served by this suppression of facts.  Facts that could protect other children from being left on the wayside or falling between the cracks.

It’s sad.  It’s so heart-wrenching sad.

~ by blksista on April 8, 2013.

 
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