David Dooley’s Defense Lawyer Insists Michelle Mockbee’s Husband Had a Motive to Kill Her

A defense attorney for David Dooley says the prosecution’s proffered motive for the murder of Michelle Mockbee doesn’t make sense. Instead, she suggested another scenario: That the victim’s husband had a reason to kill her.

Kentucky Assistant Attorney General Jon Heck told jurors in opening statements on Wednesday that the defendant killed Mockbee at the Thermo Fisher Scientific company on the early morning of May 29, 2012, at about 6 a.m. He bludgeoned her with an object, cut her wrists, bound her hands behind her back, put a plastic bag over her head, and dragged her about 40 feet, the prosecution said.

The alleged motive, as presented by the prosecution: That Mockbee, who did payroll at the company, had confronted Dooley about a scheme of his. Dooley, a janitor at the company, put in his wife’s time card and worked on her behalf, even though she often wasn’t even at work, Heck said. Witnesses said Dooley’s wife only showed up about once or twice a week, but time cards indicated that she was often there. Meanwhile, she collected a more salary. That meant the husband and wife got paid three different ways. The prosecution suggested that this might have been why Dooley murdered Mockbee.

The prosecution said punchcards and surveillance footage established the triple-dipping scheme. The thing is, however, the Dooleys’ punchcards from the day of the murder were never discovered. Not even David’s. The killer knew that this would’ve been evidence for the murder, so he got rid of it, said Heck.

Defense lawyer Deanna Davidson responded, saying that this motive didn’t make sense. What made more sense, in her view: That the victim’s husband Dan Mockbee had more of a reason to kill her.

The couple were $65,000 in debt and the defense detailed how money fell into the husband’s possession because of Michelle’s death. Sources included life insurance and workers’ comp benefits. Davidson acknowledged that this didn’t prove anything and that the husband actually put funds into accounts for the children–though she said it wasn’t “all that much.”

Davidson suggested it was “bothersome” that much of the cash money wasn’t accounted for in the first year after Michelle Mockbee’s death.

Heck acknowledged the couple’s financial problems in his opening statement, but he said that Mockbee’s husband was at home at the time of the murder. He said the spouse was very cooperative with investigators, signing every consent form, and giving them permission to search everything. The prosecutor said the couple, in fact, met at Thermo, and he described the workplace as a family.

In the trial, both sides are expected to struggle over the following three areas:

  • Gaps in the investigation. Heck admitted early interviews weren’t properly recorded because of tech problems.
  • DNA evidence. Davidson said that a major contributor of DNA on the plastic bag wasn’t identified.
  • How and why statements from both Dooley and witnesses may have shifted over time to apparently incriminate the defendant. Davidson cast doubt on statements from co-workers. She said they recalled “significant” details only after Dooley was charged.

[Screengrab via Law&Crime]

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