A publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Defense hammers home argument that withholding of video evidence warrants new trial for Dooley

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By Mark Hansel
NKytribune managing editor

For the second straight day, attorneys seeking a new trial for convicted killer David Wayne Dooley focused on video evidence that they say could have aided in his defense, but was not provided by the prosecution.

Convicted killer David Wayne Dooley is led into the courtroom in shackles Tuesday. A hearing is underway to determine if Dooley will be granted a new trial on grounds that the prosecution withheld evidence (photos by Mark Hansel).

The video shows an unknown man walking down a driveway and stopping at a door 10 hours before Michelle Mockbee was killed at Thermo Fisher Scientific in Florence, then walking out of the frame.

The man, identified as a “random dude” by investigators does not appear in the video again.

Dooley’s attorneys, Deanna Dennison and Jeff Lawson, say investigators should have turned that video over to his trial attorneys.

Tom Pugh, who was co-counsel in Dooley’s murder trial, said he had never seen the video before viewing it in court Tuesday. He agreed that it is potentially exculpatory evidence and would have been a key part of Dooley’s defense.

“It would have been our closing,” Pugh said. “Our whole defense was that he didn’t do it, so if we can point to unknown individuals who were trying to get into the building and things like that, it would have been used. One of our biggest issues was you could get in and out.”

Pugh added that during the trial, the prosecution “had made out the building to be impenetrable,” which limited the suspect pool. He said there were actually ways, including roof access using a ladder, for people to enter the building undetected.

In 2014, Dooley was convicted of killing Michelle Mockbee, a Fort Mitchell mother of two, at the Thermo Fisher Scientific facility where both worked.

He has always maintained his innocence.

Mockbee was bludgeoned to death outside the facility, located in the Northern Kentucky Industrial Park, shortly after arriving to work at 5:53 a.m. on May 29, 2012.

Pugh took over as co-counsel just weeks before the case went to trial at the request of Chris Roach, the other attorney who represented Dooley.

Roach took over the case from attorney Eric Deters after Deters was suspended.

Sarah York , who works in the Deters Law office and processes video evidence, is among those from the firm who have testified that they have never seen the video in question.

Roach previously testified that he had never seen the video before it was shown to him in court yesterday.

Ed Clark, an attorney who worked on the case before leaving the Deters Law Firm also testified that he had not seen the video prior to trial as did Sarah York, an employee of the firm.

“I have never seen a DVD that was given in discovery, of surveillance video,” York said.

York is probably better recognized by the name, Sarah Jones. She is the former Ben-gal cheerleader who sued a website for defamation. Deters represented her in the suit and York subsequently went to work for the firm.

The Office of the Attorney General (OAG) requested a CR 60.02 hearing to determine if Dooley should receive a new trial.

It is common for the defense to request a CR 60.02 hearing but the OAG asked for the hearing after questions were raised about the conduct of Commonwealth’s Attorney Linda Tally Smith, lead investigator Bruce McVay, and others in Dooley’s trial.

Dooley’s attorneys filed an appeal of his conviction, but the OAG’s office asked the Supreme Court to hold the appeal in abeyance pending the outcome of the CR 60.02 hearing.

Tally Smith was removed from the case and Deputy Attorney General J. Michael Brown and Special Prosecutor Shawna Kincer represent the OAG’s office in the hearing.

Dennison and Lawson also questioned Boone County Sheriff’s Det. Everett Stahl for more than two hours Tuesday regarding how evidence was handled and disseminated.

Stahl said it was department policy to turn everything in an investigation over to the Commonwealth’s Attorney and let her decide what to give to the defense.

He acknowledged under oath that investigators did not do that in the Dooley case, because they determined some of the evidence to be insignificant.

It was Stahl who, more than two years after the killing, tried to determine the identity of the “random dude” seen checking an entrance at the facility at 8:11 p.m. on May 28, 10 hours before Michelle Mockbee was murdered.

Boone County Sheriff’s Deputy Everett Stahl identified a truck driver who had parked at Thermo Fisher Scientific overnight as the “random dude” on the video in question.

Stahl determined that a truck driver delivering a load, who parked at the facility from the afternoon of May 28, to the morning of May 29, could have been the “random dude” on the video.

Stall identified the truck driver as Alvin Reynolds of Texas and interviewed him by phone.

Reynolds testified Monday, but his account of the interview, as well as the events of May 28 and 29, differ from that of Stahl.

Stahl claims he only conducted one interview, but Reynolds said he spoke to the detective three times.

Stahl also said he ultimately came to the conclusion that Reynolds was the “random dude” seen walking the grounds on the evening of May 28.

Reynolds stated on Monday that he never left the truck until he was awakened at 5 a.m. on May 29, saying he had food, a refrigerator, a microwave and a portable toilet, as well as a television, inside the cab of the truck.

Dennison questioned Stahl about notes from an interview with Reynolds.

“It said something that was pretty important, maybe not to you, but important maybe for the defendant,” Dennison said. “The forklift driver told him that someone got killed, right?”

Stahl acknowledged the statement and said he determined the forklift driver to be an employee named Joe Siegert. Dennison asked if Stahl thought it was strange that Siegert said something like that.

“I’m going to tell you that I took Alvin Reynolds statement that Joe Siegert said that, as (Reynolds is) not very credible,” Stahl said. “Because it wasn’t possible for that to have been said.”

Stahl explained that since Reynolds left the facility at right around 6 a.m., very near the time Mockbee was killed, that Siegert would have had to make the statement before the crime occurred.

Stahl said he never questioned Siegert about the statement.

Dennison said there is nothing in any of the notes to indicate when Siegert allegedly made the statement to Reynolds and suggested the timeline may have been off.

On a daily carrier log, Siegert indicates Reynolds left the facility at 6:10 a.m., about 13 minutes after investigators determined he actually departed.

“Do you think that might have been something important that would also have led the defense to have utilized that information, that maybe Siegert was trying to throw somebody off, by putting in 6:10 (a.m.), to make it look like that guy was still there?” Dennison asked.

“That’s correct,” Stahl said.

“Did you ask any questions of Joe Siegert about whether he even knew that there was a surveillance camera that could capture when someone actually leaves the premises?” Dennison asked.

“I interviewed him several times, I did not,” Stahl said.

In an email, McVay and Stahl told Tally Smith that Reynolds left the facility “just before Mockbee arrived.” Stahl acknowledged at the hearing Tuesday that when he determined that information was not accurate, he did not inform Tally Smith.

The hearing will resume Thursday at 9 a.m. at the Boone County Courthouse in Burlington. Additional witnesses expected to be called during the hearing include Tally Smith and McVay.

For the Tribune’s complete coverage of this case, including the discovery of a thumb drive that led to the allegations of misconduct by the Commonwealth’s Attorney and investigators, click on the links below.

Commonwealth’s Attorney seeks damages from fired employee for revealing information on thumb drive

Questions about conduct could lead to new trial for convicted killer Dooley

Hearing on new trial for convicted killer Dooley postponed

Explosive allegations against Commonwealth’s Attorney, investigators contained in Dooley filing

“Random Dude” key to first day of testimony in Dooley new trial hearing

Contact Mark Hansel at mark.hansel@nkytrib.com

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