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

Chris Douglas says this side-by-side comparison of McKay and Esters shows how easily they could be confused for each other.
Douglas, an ex-cop, ministers to a congregation of around 750 in the town of Washington. During the week prior to Boken's murder, McKay had been living in Douglas' basement while working at a local graphic-design company. It was Douglas who drove McKay to the District 9 headquarters on August 21, 2012, to voluntarily turn himself in.

At the time, Douglas assumed McKay's weeklong stay in Washington would clear him as a murder suspect and the police would leave him alone. That didn't happen. On August 20, the victim of the August 10 robbery ID'd a mugshot of McKay as the man who'd stolen her cell phone and $50. When McKay arrived at the station on August 21, he was immediately arrested.

But Douglas continued to reach out to the robbery detectives and homicide detectives investigating the Boken murder. McKay told Douglas that he had stayed at the house of three family friends the night of August 10, and had told police about his alibi.

But when Douglas inquired about those three witnesses, he says police informed him that there had been no attempt to bring them in for questioning. Douglas decided to get the witnesses himself and bring them to the station.

Here's an excerpt from Douglas' affidavit.

Later that week, on August 31st, we spoke to Detective Paul Lankhaus at District 9 to ask him about the other witnesses that were with Cornell that evening of August 10th. We found out that they never even spoke to them yet...

That day, John Huff and I drove to the witnesses home and brought Bridgette, Kiara and Crystal to the police station to give a statement. Detective Stamper, Detective Lankhaus and Detective Boeteheimmer were all present when they took John and I in the back and told us they were not going to take their statements.

Douglas did not testify about this incident during McKay's trial. His lawyer at the time, James Hacking, told him that such testimony would be hearsay. However, Douglas says he later sent a statement to the circuit attorney's office.

Douglas recorded part of the August 31 meeting mentioned in the affidavit. The quality of the recording is poor and did not capture most of the meeting. One voice on the recording (allegedly either Detective Lankhaus or Detective Stamper) can be heard telling Douglas he will pass McKay's alibi information to the detectives investigating the August 10 robbery.

Douglas tells Daily RFT the witnesses were later interviewed by the circuit attorney's office, but Hacking chose not to call them to testify during McKay's trial. The issue of McKay's alibi will likely become another component of his appeal in a higher court.

Citing department policy, St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department spokeswoman Schron Jackson declined to comment on pending litigation. The circuit attorney's office has repeatedly declined to answer questions about the case and stands by the original trial.

Continue for the full text of McKay's lawyers' writ of appeal.

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