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Inmate denies guilt in attack on Eugene man.

Byline: Greg Bolt The Register-Guard

A man accused of trying to kill a fellow inmate while in federal prison pleaded not guilty to the charges Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Eugene.

Thomas William Cornelius, 48, is charged with assault with intent to commit murder and assault with a dangerous weapon in a July 5 attack on Randy Mainwaring, then a fellow inmate at the Sheridan Federal Correctional Institution. Mainwaring, since released to a halfway house in Eugene, was convicted last year of identity theft and bank fraud charges.

Cornelius also is charged with possession of a prohibited weapon. He allegedly used a sharpened piece of metal to stab Mainwaring, a former banker in Springfield.

Although Cornelius faces up to 20 years in prison if convicted on the attempted murder charge, he already is facing the possibility of life in prison as an armed career criminal in a separate case. Cornelius has a violent past, including robbery and assault in a Washington County holdup in which a jewelry store employee was shot.

He served most of a 15-year sentence in federal prison following that crime and was living in Coos County in 2011 when he was stopped by a state trooper. Several guns, two of them stolen, were found in his car, and further investigation turned up evidence that Cornelius had been dealing in stolen weapons.

As an ex-con with felony convictions, Cornelius is barred from owning guns. He now faces a new charge of being a felon in possession of a firearm and being an armed career criminal, in addition to violating his release conditions from the earlier conviction.

He faces a trial on the attempted murder charge and the felon in possession charge on June 18. He remains in custody at the federal prison in Sheridan, although he was brought to Eugene to enter a plea on the attempted murder indictment.

Mainwaring's convictions stem from an unsuccessful attempt to fake his own death to avoid trial on arson and other charges connected to a messy divorce case. The bank fraud conviction involved the theft of sensitive customer information from Key Bank, which the bank alleged he used to create a new identity.
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Title Annotation:Courts; The man is accused of trying to kill Randy Mainwaring, who orchestrated an elaborate fraud
Publication:The Register-Guard (Eugene, OR)
Date:Apr 11, 2013
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