Appeals Court Refuses To Delay Cornell McKay Sentencing; Pastor Raises Alibi Questions

Cornell McKay (center) with Pastor Chris Douglas and his wife, Tayra, in August 2012. - Facebook/Justice for Cornell McKay
Facebook/Justice for Cornell McKay
Cornell McKay (center) with Pastor Chris Douglas and his wife, Tayra, in August 2012.

Cornell McKay is running out of options.

Yesterday, his lawyers' petition to the state appeals court was denied almost immediately, within hours of filing. That means McKay will likely be sentenced tomorrow for an August 2012 armed robbery he insists he was framed for. McKay's lawyers are now aiming to appeal to the Missouri Supreme Court.

Last week, the same judge who presided over his original trial denied McKay's lawyers' request to stay the sentencing date; both Judge Robin Vannoy and the circuit attorney's office stand by the results of McKay's trial in December 2013, when evidence linking the armed robbery to Megan Boken's killer -- Keith Esters -- was largely kept from the jury.

See also: Cornell McKay Attorney: Police Framed Man For Robbery, Ignored Megan Boken's Killer

Esters is serving a 50-year sentence for shooting Boken during a botched robbery on August 18, 2012, in the Central West End. The murder occurred just a few blocks from a similar robbery on August 10, 2012, for which McKay is facing 10 to 30 years.

McKay's mugshot.
McKay's mugshot.

In the appeal, McKay's lawyers characterize Vannoy's decision to limit evidence pointing to Esters as "ironic in the extreme," since she allowed Esters' girlfriend to testify that her boyfriend had told her he acquired the August 10 victim's cell phone in a robbery. However, Vannoy did not allow the jury to hear testimony from homicide detective Jerone Jackson, who stated in a previous deposition that he informed the lead detective investigating the August 10 robbery about Esters' admitted link to that crime. According to Jackson's deposition, Esters claimed he was in the immediate area of the robbery, knows who did it, and that it wasn't him or McKay.

In previous interviews with Daily RFT, McKay's lawyers expressed hope that a higher court would reevaluate Vannoy's decision to heavily restrict the evidence pointing to Esters. But if the state supreme court sides with Vannoy, they say they will take their case to the federal courts.

This case is anything but simple: Both the circuit attorney's office and McKay's lawyers caution that trying to make sense of the case's many components -- the stolen cell phone from the August 10 robbery, the victim that ID'd McKay, Esters' incriminating statements to Post-Dispatch reporter Jennifer Mann, the general lack of material evidence, etc -- is ultimately the court's responsibility.

That being said, one aspect of the case that remains unresolved is McKay's alibi for the evening of August 10, 2012. A recently filed affidavit from the pastor McKay was living with prior to his arrest raises the question: Did police fully investigate McKay's alibi?

Continue for Pastor Chris Douglas' allegations that police ignored McKay's alibi.

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