David Dooley stands trial again for the 2012 murder of Michelle Mockbee. The victim was found at Thermo Fischer Scientific, a biotechnology company where she and Dooley both worked. Prosecutors say Dooley beat her to death. The defendant was convicted in 2014, but that conviction got overturned because authorities in Boone County, Kentucky failed to turn over surveillance footage showing another individual outside of Mockbee’s workplace the night before her murder, according to The Cincinnati Enquirer.
Dooley denies killing Mockbee. His attorney Deanna Dennison said in a court filing that “no murder weapon, no motive, and no DNA, blood or fiber evidence” ties to him to the murder. The original conviction, she said, largely rested on the now-impeached “integrity” of detectives.
Dooley is also separately charged in a child pornography case. That is expected to proceed after this trial.
The road to retrial was messy. The Commonweath Attorney who prosecuted the first trial, Linda Tally-Smith, admittedly had a sexual relationship with lead investigator Bruce McVay after the first trial.
In a 2016 hearing to determine if there would be a retrial, this prosecutor said the charming detective won her over through humor and confidence.
McVay, however, didn’t seem cheerful when sparring on the stand with Dooley’s defense lawyer Deanna Dennison.
McVay: We were friends, Deanna.
Dennison: Just friends? Are you telling me that you didn’t have a sexual relationship with her?
McVay: We were friends.
Dennison: You are under oath.
McVay: We were friends.
Dennison: Did you have a sexual relationship with her? Are you denying that?
McVay: I don’t think it’s any of your business.
Dennison: I’m asking you and you’re under oath. This isn’t game land here. I’m asking you a question. Did you have a sexual relationship with Linda Tally-Smith? Yes or no? And you’re under oath. She’ll testify. She’ll say. Tell me what your answer is.
McVay: I just said, yes.
He’s now retired. Tally-Smith faced calls to resign. She didn’t, and was voted out of office after a landslide loss in the Republican primary last year. The Kentucky Attorney General’s Office took over the case.
“As I have said publicly for months now, I have not withheld evidence in any criminal matter, and the judge’s order confirmed that,” Tally-Smith said in a statement obtained by Law&Crime. “I have committed no crimes whatsoever as Commonwealth’s Attorney since 2000, so I have absolutely no reservations in my continued cooperation with any investigations of my conduct.”
The trial was also postponed because another one of Dooley’s attorneys, Jeff Lawson, also helped represent now-convicted murderer Shayna Hubers. That case, which faced its own shares of postponements, took up enough of his time that it got in way of this one.
Mockbee left behind two daughters.
[Image via Local 12 screengrab]