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Commonwealth rests its case in Dooley retrial; Judge Schrand denies motion for a directed verdict

By Mark Hansel
NKyTribune managing editor

The Commonwealth rested its case in the David Dooley retrial Thursday, but not before the “random dude” made another video appearance.

The Commonwealth rested its case in the retrial of David Dooley (left) Thursday. Dooley is accused of killing Michelle Mockbee at the Thermo Fisher Scientific facility in Boone County, where both worked, in 2012 (pool photo).

Dooley is charged with murder and tampering with physical evidence in the May 29, 2012 killing of Michelle Mockbee at Thermo Fisher Scientific in Boone County.

Mockbee, a Ft. Mitchell mother of two young girls, was bludgeoned to death at the facility in the early morning hours, shortly after arriving at work following the Memorial Day holiday.

Dooley, who worked at the facility as an outside contractor performing custodial duties, was convicted of murder in the killing in 2014, and sentenced to life in prison.

That conviction was thrown out, however in May 2017, after Circuit Judge James R. Schrand determined evidence that might have aided in Dooley’s defense was withheld from his trial attorneys.

That evidence was a video that shows a man who has since become known as a “random dude,” walking on the property hours before Mockbee was killed.

The prosecution, led by Assistant Attorney General Jon Heck, started presenting its case February 20, following two days of jury selection and opening statements.

The Commonwealth introduced more than 500 exhibits and called witnesses that included crimes scene detectives, employees and former employees of Thermo Fisher Scientific, including Mockbee’s husband, Dan Mockbee.

Heck has argued Michelle Mockbee had discovered that Dooley and his wife, Janet Dooley, were “triple dipping” on their time cards, and the defendant killed her to prevent her from revealing the information.

Boone County Sheriff’s Det. Evert Stahl was questioned for more than three hours by prosecutors and defense attorneys in the David Dooley retrial Thursday. Stahl was one of the lead investigators in the case in which Dooley is charged in the 2012 killing of Michelle Mockbee (photo by Mark Hansel).

Wednesday, Boone County Sheriff’s Det. Everett Stahl, one of the lead investigators in the case, took the stand and showed several examples that suggested the Dooleys were padding their time cards.

Stahl produced a chart from the month leading up to Mockbee’s killing, indicating the times the Dooleys clocked in and out. He compared it to time-stamped photos of their vehicles arriving and leaving Thermo Fisher Scientific.

There were several instances where the photos did not match the time cards. He also produced texts from Janet Dooley indicating she was not at the facility when her time card indicates she was clocked in.

Thursday, defense attorney Jeff Lawson produced a stack of time cards for the Dooleys dating back several years and showed them to Stahl.

Mockbee has been identified as the person who verified the times the Dooleys worked and sent the cards on to management for approval.

Lawson asked Stahl if the time cards showed any instances where Mockbee indicated she had questions about the validity of the times.

Stahl said there was not. Lawson also pointed to several checkmarks on the cards, believed to be made by Mockbee, and suggested they were evidence that Mockbee was not aware that the Dooley’s were “triple dipping.”

Random dude “not Alvin Reynolds”

Lawson also replayed the surveillance video showing the random dude.

Video surveillance of a “random dude” has become a key piece of evidence in the David Dooley retrial. The video, shown here earlier in the trial shows an unknown man on the grounds of Thermo Fisher Scientific hours before Michelle Mockbee was killed there (file photo).

The video shows an unidentified man walking onto the grounds of Thermo Fisher Scientific at 8:11 p.m. on May 28, 2012, about nine hours before Mockbee was killed.

The man walks along a driveway and detours toward an entrance to Beckman Coulter, a company that shares the facility with Thermo Fisher Scientific.

While it’s not clear why the man, who was described in court as “tall and lean,” diverts toward the building, he soon returns to the path and leaves the video camera’s sight line.

He is not seen on the grounds again.

In September 2014, Stahl saw the video but said then he believed the man to be Alvin Reynolds, a truck driver from Texas who parked at the facility overnight waiting for his truck to be unloaded.

Reynolds testified at the CR 60.02 hearing that resulted in a new trial for Dooley that he never left his truck that evening. He said he told Stahl that when he was questioned after Mockbee was killed.

Lawson also produced a copy of Reynolds’ driver’s license from that time, which describes him as 6 feet 4 inches tall and weighing 240 pounds. Stahl received a copy of the driver’s license in the course of the investigation.

Thursday, Lawson asked Stahl, “Do you know who that is?” referring to the man in the video.

“I do not,” Stahl said.

“That’s not Alvin Reynolds,” Lawson said.

“I do not believe it to be,” Stahl said. “I believed in 2014 that that was Alvin Reynolds.”

Lawson also asked Stahl if investigators verified building security or looked at interior video at Beckman Coulter after Mockbee was killed.

Stahl said they had not.

Defense attorney Jeff Lawson (center) asked for a directed verdict and a dismissal of all charges against David Dooley Thursday. Dooley is charged with murder and tampering with evidence in the 2012 killing of Michelle Mockbee at Thermo Fisher Scientific in Boone County in 2012 (photo by Mark Hansel).

Lawson then showed a photo of an opening, similar to a garage door, near a fence that separated Beckman Coulter from Thermo Fisher Scientific. The door was open and could not be closed at the time Mockbee was killed, requiring investigators to post a sentry there.

In the photo, Lawson pointed to several ways an intruder could hop the fence separating the two businesses and gain entrance to Thermo Fisher Scientific.

There were no internal cameras at Thermo Fisher Scientific at that time.

The message Lawson wanted to deliver to the jury was clear.

An unidentified person that was never investigated was on the grounds hours before Mockbee was killed and is never seen leaving.

Lawson said the man either left by car, went into the tree line beyond the building, or gained access to the facility.

Stahl agreed.

The man did not appear to arrive in a vehicle and there is no video evidence that he left in one.

If that person gained entry to Beckman Coulter, he could have entered Thermo Fisher Scientific and possibly left the morning Mockbee was killed without being noticed.

That message will likely be delivered to the jury again during closing arguments by defense attorneys.

Schrand denies directed verdict

There will be closing arguments because Circuit Judge James R. Schrand denied a defense motion for a directed verdict. 

A directed verdict is issued if one of the parties, in this instance the defense, asks the judge to dismiss a case, or orders the jury to do so because the other party has not proven its case.

Michelle Mockbee, a Fort Mitchell mother of two, was killed at the Thermo Fisher Scientific plant where she worked in May, 2012. David Dooley, who worked as an outside contractor at the facility, is on trial for murder in the killing (provided photo).

Lawson argued that the Commonwealth had not met its burden of proof. He said it produced no physical or DNA evidence, witnesses, or a confession linking Dooley to the killing.

Heck said the Commonwealth had met its burden of proof and the case should be decided by a jury.

He said the altered time cards provided a motive for the killing. Motive is not needed to obtain a guilty verdict, but knowing why someone was killed is certainly a factor.

He said the means by which the crime was committed was also produced in the form of a tape gun identified by a medical examiner as identical to the weapon likely used to kill Mockbee.

Dooley also had the opportunity to kill Mockbee, because he was in the office area where she was believed to have been killed, to clean that morning.

Investigators also said the person who killed Mockbee had to have left the facility because the tape gun was never recovered and there were no clothing or other items from the crime found on site.

The killing was especially brutal and they say the killer would almost certainly have gotten blood on his clothing.

Dooley is the only person known to have been in the building at the time of the killing that left before Mockbee’s body was found. He is shown on video leaving Thermo Fisher Scientific moments after Mockbee is believed to have been killed.

Directed verdicts are extremely rare and Schrand, who also presided over the original trial and the CR 60.02 hearing, ruled that he would let the jury decide the case.

The defense then called its first witnesses.

A former security guard at the facility, stationed there after Mockbee was killed, said he had some unusual conversations with Thermo Fisher Scientific employee Joseph Siegert.

The security guard said Siegert, whose DNA was tested against crime scene evidence, suggested he had information about the crime.

The security guard became concerned and told his supervisor, who passed the information along to the Boone County Sheriff’s office. 

The security guard was interviewed by investigators, but Siegert was eliminated as a suspect.

The defense will call additional witnesses when testimony resumes today in Courtroom 4B of the Boone County Courthouse in Burlington.

For links to the NKyTribune’s extensive coverage of the Dooley case, click here.

Contact Mark Hansel at mark.hansel@nkytrib.com

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One Comment

  1. Dean Knolls says:

    Deanna just set the table for when Carver Davidson (a.k.a. Bruce McVay) takes the stand again. She casually asked him if he ever lied in an investigation before. He responded, “NO” ! Perjury is about to take place here Judge. Please pay attention this time. He lied (perjury) in retrial hearing too. No penalty ? Witness will Prove he has lied in other investigations. In fact, most Boone Countians already know this. Remember LTS 18 page letter to Carver where she says “ABOUT CASES” in all CAPS. What goes around comes around.

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