Suspect charged in Fairmount Park attack

Cornell McNeals appears in court Friday on closed-circuit TV. (KSN photo / Ashley Arnold)

WICHITA, Kansas — Cornell Antoine McNeal made his first court appearance before Judge Kisner Friday afternoon. He was booked late Wednesday on suspicion of rape and attempted first-degree murder in the attack Friday night at Fairmount Park.

McNeal was charged Friday with attempted capital murder, rape and two counts of arson. The charge also includes an alternative charge of attempted first-degree, premeditated murder. His preliminary hearing has been scheduled for December 4th at 9:00 a.m. and his bond was set at $250,000.

Cornell Antoine McNeal
Cornell Antoine McNeal

Court documents revealed that McNeal has been unemployed for 6 years and cannot pay for his own defense. McNeal was also ordered to have no contact with the victim or any of the state’s witnesses.

Forensic scientists said that forensic evidence has been the key in this case connecting McNeal to the crime. However, police have been very tight lipped about what evidence they have.

Records show that he was last behind bars on November 6th, just one week before the attack in Fairmount Park took place.

KSN asked the jail which inmates are required to give a DNA sample, and they say not every inmate required to provide a sample.

Officials said that any person convicted as an adult IS required to give a DNA sample for the following crimes:

  • Any felony, a crime that carries a sentence of over 1 year in prison.
  • Sex offenses
  • Crimes related to prostitution
  • Cruelty to animals
  • Crimes involving criminal restraint against a victim
  • Some attempted crimes, which include certain misdemeanors.

KSN legal analyst said the only other way to get a DNA sample is with a search warrant.

“DNA evidence is like any other evidence. It can be obtained by a search warrant if there is probable cause to believe that the person has committed a crime and that the DNA will be evidence that helps them solve the crime,” said Monnat.

The victim of the attack remains in critical condition due to the nature of her extensive injuries. She was found on fire in Fairmount Park, just south of the Wichita State University campus in northeast Wichita, around 11:30 p.m. Friday night.

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