(L,R) Shaniya Davis, Mario McNeill. Courtesy WRAL.
Fayetteville, NC -- A man charged with raping and killing a 5-year-old Fayetteville girl more than three years ago is going on trial after rejecting a plea deal that would have taken the death penalty off the table.
Mario McNeill rejected the offer to plead guilty to the rape and murder of Shaniya Davis in 2009. On Monday, prosecutors had offered a sentence of life without parole in exchange for a guilty plea.
McNeill's decision Tuesday to reject the offer means he could receive the death sentence if convicted of murder.
Shaniya's body was found in Harnett County on Nov. 16, 2009, six days after she was reported missing. Her mother also is charged in the case. Prosecutors say she sold Shaniya to pay off a drug debt.
Jury selection resumed Tuesday.