By Mark Hansel
NKyTribune managing editor
A very private matter that has been rumored of for months in Boone County was revealed in a most public forum Thursday.
Former Boone County Sheriff’s Department investigator Bruce McVay admitted to engaging in a sexual relationship with Commonwealth’s Attorney Linda Tally Smith.
Tally Smith was at that time, and remains, married to District Court Judge Jeff Smith.
McVay made the revelation during testimony in a CR 60.02 hearing that will determine if convicted killer David Wayne Dooley will get a new trial.
McVay was the lead detective in the case and Tally Smith was the prosecutor.
Initially, McVay said he and Tally Smith were “just friends” and when pressed by Deanna Dennison, Dooley’s attorney, he asked, “Is it any of your business?”
Dennison assured him that it was, and reminded the 30-year veteran of law enforcement that he was under oath.
McVay quietly replied, “Yes.”
McVay’s attorney, Ben Dusing had previously acknowledged a personal relationship between his client and Tally Smith.
A correspondence from Tally Smith to McVay that was included in a memorandum filed by Dennison prior to the hearing also strongly suggested the two were more than just friends.
“What I don’t think that you are comprehending is that I had a deeper circle of trust with you than I have ever had, or will ever have, with any other officer (or any other person for that matter).”
Those following the case closely have heard talk of the affair for months, but it was the first time one of the participants has admitted it publicly.
McVay also acknowledged that he and Tally Smith had secret email accounts that they used when corresponding. His name was Carter Davidson, hers was Chiquita Queen.
McVay was sometimes argumentative and, at one point, would not confirm that a potentially damaging email from Carter Davidson to Chiquita Queen was sent by him.
The revelations were just the latest in a case that is so bizarre one observer said if it was a Hollywood script, you couldn’t sell.
Unfortunately for those involved, it is all too real.
Dooley was sentenced to life in prison in 2014, for killing Mockbee outside of Thermo Fisher Scientific, in the Northern Kentucky Industrial Park in Florence.
The mother of two was found bludgeoned to death shortly after she arrived at work on May 29, 2012.
Members of the Mockbee family, as well as Dooley’s relatives, have been in the courtroom for three days this week, as one witness after another provides details of the case, sometimes in graphic detail.
Previous witnesses have testified that potentially exculpatory evidence was not provided to Dooley’s attorneys prior to the murder trial.
Much of McVay’s testimony Thursday focused on the videotape that has been replayed several times during the hearing, which shows a man walking down a driveway at the facility at 8:11 p.m. on May 28, just 10 hours before Mockbee was killed.
The man, identified by investigators as a “random dude,” stops at a door, appears to attempt to enter the building, then walks out of the video frame and is never seen on tape again.
Attorneys Chris Roach and Tom Pugh, who defended Dooley in the murder trial, say they never saw the video until it was shown to them at this hearing. Both agree that it would have been helpful, and potentially exculpatory, in putting on a defense for their client.
McVay’s testimony differed from that of Deputy Everett Stahl, who testified Tuesday that he attempted to identify the man.
Stahl interviewed a truck driver, Alvin Reynolds of Texas, who he later said he believed to be the “random dude,” but never shared the information with Tally Smith.
McVay, however said Tally Smith did know about the man prior to the trial and that it was her call whether to share evidence with Dooley’s defense team.
“I remember telling her that the guy would come down to testify if we needed him,” McVay said.
Reynolds testified Monday and said he never left his truck after arriving at the facility on the afternoon of May 28, the day before Mockbee was killed, until being awakened the next morning by forklift operator Joe Siegert.
Dennison also called into question whether McVay and Stahl really believed Reynolds, whose identification lists him as 6 feet 4inches tall and weighing 240 pounds, was the “random dude.” She suggested the person in the video was smaller and detectives with their experience should have been able to determine that.
The Office of the Attorney General took the case over from Tally Smith after questions about her conduct were raised in a thumb drive provided to the OAG by a former employee.
Special Prosecutor Shawna Kincer and Deputy Attorney General J. Michael Brown, who were assigned to represent the Attorney General’s office in the case, had no questions for McVay.
Tuesday, Dennison raised questions about forklift operator Siegert’s behavior on the morning of May 29, pointing out that he noted the wrong time on a daily carrier log, possibly to divert suspicion to the truck driver.
Siegert indicated Reynolds left the facility at 6:10 a.m., but surveillance video shows him departing at 5:57 a.m., just four minutes after Mockbee arrived at work.
“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?” she asked Stahl Tuesday.
Thursday. Dennison’s co-counsel, Jeff Lawson, produced another video that was not given to Dooley’s trial attorneys, which he said raised additional questions about Siegert’s behavior.
Siegert took, and passed, a polygraph in 2012, but made some statements on videotape after the exam was over that Dooley defense attorney Roach said would have been helpful to have at trial.
The audio portion of the tape was difficult to pick up in the courtroom, but Lawson asked Roach if there was anything on it that would have been significant to Dooley’s defense.
Roach said Siegert described elements of the crime that he seemingly should not have knowledge of and attempted to portray Dooley in a bad light, again with information he should not have known.
“According to Joe, the only time he heard about (Dooley) having a criminal history is from Dave saying he was a ‘bad boy’ and was in a halfway house,” Roach said. “But on that video, he talked about Dave being a thief and a conviction he had for burglary, theft-related. So at some point he was…either told or found out.”
Roach said he had not seen the portion of the videotape where Siegert made those statements until Dooley’s current attorneys showed it to him Wednesday night.
The hearing will resume today at 9 a.m. in the courtroom of Circuit Court Judge James R. Schrand in the Boone County Courthouse. Schrand also presided over Dooley’s murder trial.
It is not clear if Tally Smith will testify today, but she is expected to take the stand at some point during the hearing.
Contact Mark Hansel at firstname.lastname@example.org