Prosecutor in murder case cross-examined after admitting affair with detective
BOONE COUNTY, Ky. (WKRC) - It will be six weeks before David Dooley learns if he gets a new trial for the 2012 murder of Michelle Mockbee.
But after five days of testimony in a hearing for a new trial, the Dooley and Mockbee families have made up their minds.
"I think it went really good for David," his mother, Elizabeth Yates, told reporters after Judge J.R. Schrand wrapped up the hearing. "And I'm very happy with it. I'll be glad when it's all over and he can come home."
Michelle Mockebee's sister Jennifer Schneider left the hearing with a different take. "We still stand by the prosecutor and we strongly believe that the jury got it right when they convicted David Dooley of killing my sister."
Dooley is currently serving life in prison. The hearing for a new trial was requested by the Kentucky Attorney General's office after a law clerk discovered texts and emails on Prosecutor Linda Tally Smith's computer that raised questions about withheld evidence and dishonesty by lead detective Bruce McVay. The trove of data also uncovered that Tally Smith and McVay became romantically involved after the Dooley trial. Both acknowledged the love affair during the hearing.
The first four days of testimony focused on a surveillance tape that shows an unknown man outside the crime scene 10 hours before Michelle Mockbee was beaten to death at the Thermo Fisher Scientific plant in Boone County. The defense claims they never saw the tape and would have used it to defend Dooley. The prosecution says they gave them the tape.
Linda Tally Smith was cross examined Monday after spending four hours testifying Friday. Tally Smith repeated her claim that the defense got the tape but she was never told about the man on the tape by her own investigators.
"So you went in blind?" Dooley attorney Deanna Dennison asked Tally Smith.
"I wouldn't say I went in blind" Tally Smith replied.
"You didn't know about the guy on the video?" Dennison asked.
"No, I did not but the most important thing is I don't believe it would have changed a thing," Tally Smith said.
In a heated exchange, Dennison pointed out that the fact an unknown man was near the crime scene could have been useful to Dooley's defense. Later in the day, Bruce McVay was recalled to testify. He refuted Tally Smith's claims and told Dooley attorney Jeff Lawson that he had a conversation with Tally Smith, prior to trial, about the man referred to as "the random dude."
Judge Schrand has given both sides six weeks to file additional briefs before he rules on a new trial. The families are not looking forward to the wait or the prospect of hearing more testimony about their loved ones. Yates says the hearing convinced her Dooley deserves a new trial but raised new questions.
"I don't know who would testify at this point. If they all lied and covered things up what good are they as witnesses? It's just ridiculous."
Michelle Mockbee was murdered on May 29, 2012. David Dooley was convicted of her murder in October 2014.