Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

St. Louis Prosecutor Drops Robbery Case in Which Defense Offered Evidence against Convicted Killer

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

St. Louis Prosecutor Drops Robbery Case in Which Defense Offered Evidence against Convicted Killer

Article excerpt

ST. LOUIS * Circuit Attorney Jennifer Joyce on Wednesday dropped charges of first-degree robbery and armed criminal action against a man whose lawyers blamed someone else a convicted killer for the crime.

In a formal statement, Joyce said the victim of the Aug. 10, 2012, robbery no longer wished to testify against Cornell McKay, "given the intense scrutiny and public personal attacks against her and her integrity."

"She has been deeply affected, not just from the robbery itself, which still haunts her, but from the traumatic aftermath of the defense team's media barrage over the past year," the statement says.

In an interview, Joyce said that the victim's unwillingness to testify was "the one and only reason" the prosecutor dropped the case. "We believe in our case," she said, later adding, "I believe that (McKay) is the one who committed this robbery but I can't prove it."

Joyce also blasted McKay's lawyers, saying they released the victim's name publicly and bullied her into dropping out.

Defense lawyer Bob Ramsey said members of McKay's legal team were having a strategy session when they heard the news.

"It's very gratifying that all this hard work has resulted in justice being done. So we're walking on a cloud," he said.

Ramsey had not reached McKay. In response to Joyce's criticism in the statement, he said that defense lawyers were focusing on the conduct of police and prosecutors, not the victim.

McKay, 23, has been behind bars since Aug. 20, 2012. He was sentenced in March 2014 to 12 years in prison.

But in December, a three-judge panel of the Missouri Court of Appeals ordered a new trial. The judges said that jurors should have heard all the evidence that pointed to Keith Esters, who was convicted of killing former St. Louis University volleyball player Megan Boken in a similar holdup eight days later and just a few blocks away.

McKay's lawyers weren't allowed to mention Boken, and were limited in their ability to implicate Esters.

The Missouri attorney general's office appealed, unsuccessfully, all the way to the Missouri Supreme Court.

In recent days, McKay's lawyers filed a motion to dismiss the case. …

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