Shaniya Davis: McNeill Admits He Took The Little Girl From The Trailer Park on The First Day of Trial, and Other News
He’s still smiling.
The judge wants to try this case as quickly as possible, but I have a feeling that it is going to be longer than he thinks. The prosecution says that the proceedings will take up to eight weeks. Jury selection itself may take up to about two weeks. And both the prosecution and the defense are going to bring in a bevy of witnesses from all over—even, it is said, from witnesses in the Virgin Islands, (Jeff Riccio and the police search team who found Shaniya’s little body) and as well as evidence tying McNeill to his deed.
Okay, McNeill admits that he took little Shaniya, but that is always where his admissions have ended. Nothing new. Well, if he wasn’t with her, then who was?
The man accused of raping and killing 5-year-old Shaniya Davis in 2009 admits he took her from a trailer park and brought her to a Lee County hotel, according to his lawyers.
As Mario Andrette McNeill’s trial began this morning, his lawyers said he acknowledges that he was at the Sleepy Hollow mobile home park where Shaniya’s mother lived in 2009 and left the park with the child. They also said he also acknowledges having Shaniya at the hotel, where a video camera caught footage of them, and leaving with her.
His mother is attending. She declined comment.
I’ll bet. Not sure whether she’s ever been interviewed by media, but this must be the most dismal period in her life.
During the morning session, 16 prospective jurors from the original pool of 97 had been dismissed for various reasons, including medical conditions, a scheduled surgery and status as an enrolled student.
Senior Resident Superior Court Judge Jim Ammons spent time summarizing legal procedures.
The remaining 81 prospective jurors were then divided into seven panels. Those on three panels were asked to return to the jury room after lunch at 2:30 p.m., while the four other panels were excused for the day but must call back for further instructions after 5 p.m.
“Now, don’t talk to anybody about this case,” Ammons told them.
On the other side, Bradley Lockhart, in an interview a couple of days ago, waxed somewhat philosophical—if you can call it that—about what might have been for his little girl. To me, it was a study in obfuscation and silences. Such as:
Lockhart spoke by phone late last month from his home in Alabama, where he says he had planned to move for a job before his daughter’s death. He works as a regional environmental safety manager for a construction company.
Through the years, he has returned to Fayetteville on occasion. He said he plans to be in the courtroom for most of the trials.
As far as he knows, Lockhart said, he will not be called as a witness.
Following Shaniya’s murder, Lockhart received criticism for allowing his daughter to stay with Davis in Sleepy Hollow Mobile Home Park.
Last month, Lockhart said he had no idea that Shaniya and her mother were living at that location with Davis’ sister.
“I had given her a deposit to live in her own place. It was downtown,” he said. “I had no knowledge of that. I still don’t know why she was at the other place. Was she evicted? I don’t know.”
Lockhart is lying if he thinks that he won’t be called as a witness, as well as his sister, Carey Lockhart-Davis who cared for Shaniya at the time she was handed over to Antoinette Davis (Carey and Antoinette are not related despite their surnames). What were the true circumstances that led Bradley Lockhart to give his daughter over to her mother, knowing what Antoinette’s alleged previous behavior, and those of her friends and family, had been in the past towards the little girl? Why didn’t he check on his daughter’s welfare, or ask his sister to do so, as to exactly where she was located and her living conditions?
As a father, didn’t he flipping care?
It just supports my theory that Lockhart simply dumped Shaniya, or made his sister abandon her to the open mouth of the tiger. A good prosecutor would rake him over the coals on the witness stand for that alone because Lockhart was the custodial parent, and could be charged as being negligent and for abandonment. I repeat, a good prosecutor would make Bradley Lockhart answer the kinds of questions that I posed above, if only to sate the community’s lingering questions. Such testimony would divine how much Lockhart truly cared about his daughter, especially the expense of bringing her up, and answer whether it is true that his girlfriends were more likely to clothe and feed the child.
Otherwise, it is going to look like the authorities are going to exonerate Bradley Lockhart, Shaniya’s white father, and just prosecute those of color who are involved in this crime. Assigning responsibility is a lot less difficult than it appears, even when it pertains to Lockhart’s actions.
Today, Lockhart was accompanied by a couple of his pals and was present in the courtroom when McNeill publicly made his admissions. The media says that Lockhart will appear for most of the proceedings, but then again, that remains to be seen.
Unfortunately, social media interest in this case has not been a factor in decisions about the case. For example, live coverage of the case is up in the air; because the trial had been postponed so many times, cable TV has no interest (yet) in carrying it.
The looming trial has created buzz on social media, but it does not appear that national TV media will be covering the trial.
Ellen Hancox, the county’s trial court administrator, said Tuesday she had not received requests from national cable channels to cover the trial since the court date was continued from Feb. 18 to Monday.
“It’s sort of unpredictable what stories they may or may not be interested in,” she said.
Gena Osborne, who lives in Tennessee, said she’s a member of a couple of groups on Facebook that have been waiting for the trial to begin. Her Facebook groups include Shaniya’s Angels. Another group dedicated to the child’s memory, Justice for Shaniya Nicole Davis, is also on Facebook.
“I know for a fact,” Osborne said by email, “that there are many, many of us – people of all ages, all color and all gender – who have been checking in with each other on Facebook looking for info and asking for any information anyone can find to be shared with our groups.”
One would expect Nancy Grace to be bird-dogging this case from her perch at HLN, but even she is nowhere to be seen.
As I have said before, this child deserves justice, which includes a full airing of what occurred not only when Mario McNeill took her away, but before Shaniya even arrived at the wretched hovel that became her last home.
- Searcher recalls day he helped find NC girl’s body (newsobserver.com)
- Jury selection begins in capital trial of man accused of raping, killing child (charlotte.news14.com)