Engineer links car soil to McNeill in girl's death
By Associated Press
FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. -
A materials engineer
testified Tuesday that soil found in the car of a man accused in the
death of a 5-year-old Fayetteville girl matches soil found near her
Roberto Garcia, a lab manager at N.C.
State University, told the court in Mario McNeill's murder trial that
he examined three soil samples and found similar metals in a sample from
the gas pedal in McNeill's car and an area near where Shaniya Davis'
body was found in November 2009.
District Attorney Billy West
asked Garcia if the metal in the soil came from a braided metal wire
like that used in bicycle locks or cables used on 18-wheelers or in
"Who's testifying here?" demanded defense lawyer
Terry Alford, repeating a frequent complaint that the prosecution was
Another defense lawyer attacked the credibility of Heather Hanna of the N.C.
Geological Survey, who'd testified that soil found in McNeill's car
matched soil found along a road near where the body of Shaniya was
During a testy cross-examination, Butch Pope asked Hanna
why she hadn't also examined soil from the brake pedal of McNeill's car.
She said there wasn't enough soil there to analyze.
Pope asked Hanna why she hadn't named specific types of garnet in the soil samples.
"It's not important for me to name," she said. "Their composition is what's important to me."
"You do realize this is a murder case, right?" Pope said.
"Yes, I do," Hanna replied.
Monday, prosecutors said the state anticipates entering evidence
through Wednesday and possibly into Thursday. Ammons said he would
rather break for the week at that time.
McNeill is being tried for
the rape and murder of Shaniya, and dumping her body in woods in Lee
County in November 2009. He could face death if convicted of