Newly released affidavits have linked 26-year-old Cornell McNeal to the rape and brutal murder of a woman at a park in Wichita, Kansas.
The records were released on Friday following a court order after several news outlets claimed that they were “presumed to be open.” McNeal’s defense team initially attempted to prevent the records from being opened on the grounds that they would potentially “endanger the life or physical safety” of their client. A recently implemented law, however, prompted a judge to order the release.
The affidavits reveal new information that links McNeal to the rape and murder of 36-year-old Letitia Davis, who was reportedly raped and fatally burned on November 14th and succumbed to her injuries on November 22nd. As detailed in the documents, authorities apparently found a damaged cell phone belonging to McNeal at the park in which Davis was attacked.
McNeal initially denied having any involvement in the attack, maintaining that he didn’t have any contact with a woman in the park.
According to the Huffington Post, firefighters were responding to a reported grassfire at the park when they “found a nude and bloody Davis.” Davis told authorities that she was raped, beaten and burned by someone she didn’t know. The affidavits show that DNA from a sexual assault examination initially linked McNeal to the crime.
McNeal’s defense objected to the release of the documents out of concern that “prosecutors could seek the death penalty and because McNeal could become a target of other inmates.” The law that allows the release of sealed documents, which took effect in July of this year, has also been debated in other courts throughout the state.
Source: Huffington Post / Photo Credit: nydailynews.com, Wikimedia Commons