The man accused in the kidnapping, rape and murder of a 5-year-old Fayetteville girl went against the advice of his attorneys and allowed jurors to see on Wednesday the entire videotape of his police interview.
Prosecutors had wanted to play the most relevant clips, but Mario McNeill demanded jurors see the entire tape. McNeill's lawyer didn't want the tape shown, saying the defense and its client were at odds over the issue.
In the interview, the 32-year-old McNeill initially denies knowing Shaniya Davis, the girl he is charged with raping and killing. He said he knew the family, but didn't know that Antoinette Davis had a daughter.
Prosecutors allege McNeill took Shaniya from her home in the early morning hours of Nov. 10, 2009, to rape her at a motel in Sanford before killing her and dumping her body in an area off N.C. Highway 87 near the Lee-Harnett County line.
Surveillance video from the Sanford hotel show McNeill carrying the child towards an elevator, but when he spoke with detectives, he initially denied it was him. About two hours into the interview, McNeill changed his story and admitted to taking Shaniya to the hotel after getting a text message from her aunt asking him to hand her off to somebody.
"I didn't think it would go this far," he said.
A detective and a police investigator said McNeill's story sounded implausible, and an FBI agent said a log of texts to and from McNeill's cellphone didn't jibe with his story.
"You take a child you've never seen before, drive her to Sanford and then come back to Fayetteville and give her to people you didn't even know?" the unidentified investigator asked during the interview.
"We have no proof that you gave her to somebody else. You need to help me figure out who this person is," the detective said.
"I don't know. I don't know. I don't know," McNeill said as police repeatedly asked him where Shaniya was.
"You killed that baby, didn't you?" the detective asked.
"No, no, no," McNeill insisted.
McNeill could be sentenced to death if convicted. Antoinette Davis is accused of giving her daughter to McNeill to settle a drug debt. She has not been tried.