DNA was key in deadly Fairmount Park attack arrest

Cornell McNeal (KSN File Photo)
Cornell McNeal (KSN File Photo)

WICHITA, Kansas — After 36-year-old victim, Letitia Davis, was found burned and beaten on November 14 in Fairmount Park, sexual assault evidence was collected and entered into the Sedgwick County Forensic Science Center (SCFSC).

According to both probable cause affidavits in the arrest of the suspect, Cornell Antoine McNeal, 26, a representative from the SCFSC advised that there was a preliminary match for the DNA profile previously run from the Sexual Assault Evidence Collection Kit (SAECK) taken from Davis’ body. The doctor said the “single-source male profile located from the SAECK matched a previously submitted known standard profile of Cornell A. McNeal which was submitted under case number 10C61417.”

KSN learned that the case is a Wichita Police incident report filed in August 2010.

In that report, a victim alleges that a suspect forcibly raped her. McNeal’s name is not listed specifically on the incident report, but this is the case Wichita Police said is tied to McNeal’s DNA.

“The search of a person’s body, for fluids containing DNA, is just that: a search,” explained Dan Monnat, a legal analyst. “Most searches require a search warrant. However, an exception to the search warrant requirement is free and voluntary consent.”

KSN is still working to learn the specific details surrounding this 2010 case, however, they were not yet available Monday.

In Kansas, even if a suspect who submitted DNA is cleared of a crime, his or her DNA is not wiped out of the database automatically.

“If another crime comes up that they’re investigating, and you have not expunged your DNA, the DNA is on file to be used in connection with any criminal justice purpose,” said Monnat.

In the case of Cornell McNeal, documents show that when presented with the DNA analysis outlined in his arrest affidavit, McNeal maintained his innocence.

Kansas law maintains that all adults and juveniles – arrested, charged, or placed in custody – for felonies and some misdemeanors, are required to submit biological fluids containing DNA.

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