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McVay cross-examined in Dooley retrial; evidence of time card tampering presented as motive for killing

By Mark Hansel
NKyTribune managing editor

One of the most highly anticipated moments in the David Dooley retrial did not deliver the drama that many expected Wednesday.

David Dooley, right, is partially obscured by the many folders containing documents that are expected to be used in his defense. Dooley is charged with murder and tampering with physical evidence in the 2012 killing of Michelle Mockbee at the Thermo Fisher Scientific facility in Boone County in May, 2012. Defense attorney Deanna Dennison is at left (photos by Mark Hansel).

Dooley is charged with murder and tampering with evidence in the killing of Michelle Mockbee at Thermo Fischer Scientific in Boone County.

Mockbee, a Ft. Mitchell mother of two small girls, was brutally beaten to death at the facility in the early morning hours of May 29, 2012.

In 2014, Dooley was convicted of murder in the killing and sentenced to life in prison but that decision was thrown out.

Circuit Judge James R. Schrand ruled that evidence that might have aided in Dooley’s defense was withheld from trial attorneys and granted him a new trial in May, 2017.

Wednesday former Boone County Sheriff’s Det. Bruce McVay, who led the original investigation into Mockbee’s death, returned to the stand for cross-examination by defense attorney Deanna Dennison.

McVay was questioned by Assistant Attorney General Jon Heck, who now represents the Commonwealth in this case, for several hours Tuesday.

During the CR 60.02 hearing that resulted in Dooley getting a new trial, much was made of McVay’s work history.

Allegations included questionable investigative tactics claimed in a correspondence to McVay from former Boone/Gallatin Commonwealth’s Attorney Linda Tally Smith.

Dennison only alluded to the accusations of the alleged tactics that Tally Smith described in the letter as, “pulling a Bruce.” The claims included searching something prior to getting a search warrant and turning off an audio or video.

Former Boone County Sheriff’s Det. Bruce McVay, (right), reviews evidence with defense attorneys Jeff Lawson and Deanna Dennison

Tally Smith was the prosecutor in the original Dooley trial.

McVay, who is now retired, said his recorder malfunctioned during initial interviews with three employees of Thermo Fisher Scientific in the hours after Mockbee was killed.

Wednesday Dennison asked McVay if he had ever turned off an audio or a video recorder while conducting an interview.

“During the interview, no,” McVay said.

Dennison also asked McVay if he had ever lied during an investigation.

“Yes, of course,” McVay answered. “A ruse – in this case, – when I pulled the tape gun out.”

A ruse is a common and perfectly legal interrogation technique, during which investigators attempt to trick a suspect into revealing information.

McVay showed a tape gun, identical to the one prosecutors say was used to kill Mockbee, to Dooley during a September, 2012 interview.

They say Dooley’s demeanor changed when he saw it and he shut down the interview. He was arrested and charged with murder that day

McVay is subject to recall and Tally Smith is also on the witness list, so Dennison may have just been setting the table for future questioning.

Boone County Sheriff’s Det. Everett Stahl watches a video interview of Janet Dooley Wednesday. Stahl presented evidence to suggest David and Janet Dooley fabricated time cards when they worked as outside contractors at Thermo Fisher Scientific. Prosecutors say Michelle Mockbee found out about it and that provided the motive for David Dooley, who is charged with murder, to kill her.

In testimony that could be significant in presenting a motive for Dooley to kill Mockbee, Det. Everett Stahl, presented compelling evidence to suggest Dooley and his wife, Janet Dooley, were doctoring their time cards.

Stahl produced a chart from the entire month of May, 2012, that showed the times David and Janet Dooley clocked in and out each day.

Prosecutors showed corresponding video footage from each day, comparing it to the times the Dooleys clocked in and out.

There were several days when the times Janet Dooley’s vehicle arrived at or left the facility that did not correspond with hours worked, and in some cases, it was not seen at all.

While Stahl acknowledged Janet Dooley could have ridden in with her husband, there were still discrepancies in the time cards and instances where text messages indicated she was elsewhere at the time she was “clocked in.”

In his opening, Heck suggested Dooley’s motive for killing Mockbee was that she had found out about what he called “triple dipping” on time cards and she surprised him by arriving early as he was trying to take them from her office.

Dennison acknowledged in her opening that the Dooleys probably were altering work records, but that it was not a motive for a brutal killing.

The trial is scheduled to resume at 9 a.m. 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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  1. Kathy3882 says:

    In today’s society of a multitude of watchful cameras available, why not have time clock areas monitored, along with the payroll offices. But if the Dooley’s were double and triple dipping, a forensic accountant should be able to figure it out easily enough.

  2. Debbie says:

    I would think if this was a motive , he would have just killed her. Sounds like whoever killed her was angry and brutally murdered her. Why bind her and go to all that trouble and time. Sounds more like someone with a personal issue.

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