Jurors reached a verdict in the trial of Mario McNeill Thursday, convicting him of first-degree murder in the 2009 killing of 5-year-old Shaniya Davis.
Prosecutors said the 33-year-old took the child from her home in the early morning hours of November 10, 2009 to rape her at a motel in Sanford. McNeill then killed her and dumping her body in an area where deer hunters dump carcasses just off N.C. Highway 87, near the Lee-Harnett County line, according to prosecutors.
Deliberations began after McNeill's defense finished its closing arguments Wednesday morning.
McNeill was found not guilty of first-degree rape of a child, but guilty of first-degree kidnapping, human trafficking with a child victim, sexual servitude with a child victim, sexual offense of a child, and indecent liberties with a child charges. He could get the death penalty during the sentencing phase of his trial.
Prosecutors have also charged Shaniya's mother, Antoinette Davis, with selling her daughter to McNeill to pay a drug debt. Davis hasn't been tried yet.
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