FAYETTEVILLE, North Carolina — Jurors in the trial of a man accused in the rape and murder of a 5-year-old Fayetteville girl have completed their first day of deliberations without reaching a verdict.
The Fayetteville Observer reported (http://bit.ly/12O27I9) that the jury got the case at around 11:30 a.m. Wednesday after hearing closing arguments from defense attorneys for Mario McNeill. The jury deliberated for almost four hours before going home.
Defense lawyer Harold "Butch" Pope told jurors the state "jumped the gun" when it charged McNeill with raping and murdering Shaniya Davis. Pope said the state hadn't proved that a sexual assault took place or when or where the child was killed.
Shaniya's body was found Nov. 16, 2009, six days after her mother reported her missing.
McNeill could face the death penalty if convicted.
Information from: The Fayetteville Observer, http://www.fayobserver.com