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Update: Date for pretrial conference updated on new trial for convicted killer David Dooley

By Mark Hansel
NKyTribune managing editor

Editor’s note: This story is being reprinted with the updated information on the pretrial conference because of the amount of public interest in this case. The NKyTribune wants to ensure that all parties that have an interest in this case have the most current and accurate information available.

The pretrial conference for the retrial of David Dooley is scheduled for Wednesday, June 14, at 9 a.m. Initially, the date of the conference was announced as Saturday, June 10, but undated information from CourtNet indicates that information was posted incorrectly.

Convicted killer David Wayne Dooley at the CR 60.02 hearing. Boone Circuit Judge James R. Schrand ruled Friday that Dooley will get a new trial because evidence was withheld from his defense team (photos by Mark Hansel)

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

In an 18-page ruling, Schrand determined Dooley’s defense team was entitled to know about an individual, identified as a “random dude ,” that was seen walking on the property in a May 28, 2012, surveillance video. Schrand also ruled the defense team should have had access to information from a detective’s conversation with a truck driver who was at the scene of the killing for several hours leading up to the crime.

“IT IS HEREBY ORDERED AND ADJUDGED that Defendant’s conviction on the charges of Murder and Tampering with Physical Evidence are vacated and the Defendant shall be given a new trial.”

Schrand presided over Dooley’s murder trial, as well as the proceeding, known as a CR. 60.02 hearing, to determine if Dooley would receive a new trial.

It is important to understand that Schrand’s ruling is not a determination of Dooley’s innocence or guilt, only that his defense team was deprived of evidence that could have aided them at trial.

In an unusual move, the Kentucky Office of the Attorney General (OAG) requested the CR 60.02 hearing, after questions arose about the conduct of Boone Commonwealth’s Attorney Linda Tally Smith. Generally, it is the defense team that requests a CR 60.02 hearing and legal consultants contacted by the Tribune say they can’t ever recall a prosecutor filing such a motion.

Boone Commonwealth’s Attorney Linda Tally Smith (inset) admitted to an affair with former Boone County Detective Bruce McVay (right), the lead investigator into the death of Michelle Mockbee. David Wayne Dooley, who was convicted of Mockbee’s murder in 2014, was granted a new trial Friday (file photo).

Tally Smith admitted to having an affair with then- Boone County Sheriff’s Detective Bruce McVay, the lead investigator on the case, which she claims began after Dooley’s murder trial was concluded.

Tally Smith was at that time, and remains, married to District Court Judge Jeffrey Smith.

Deputy Attorney General J. Michael Brown and Special Prosecutor Shawna Kincer presented the case for the OAG’s office.

Attorneys Deanna Dennison and Jeff Lawson  represented Dooley at the hearing.

In his ruling, Schrand acknowledged the unusual nature of the request by the Attorney General’s office.

“The procedural posture of the case is unique in that a “CR. 60.02 motion is normally the last chance for a ‘defendant’ to obtain the relief that he or she requests.”

Schrand indicated in the decision that a defendant’s first attack on his or her conviction is by direct appeal to the Kentucky Court of Appeals, or, in some cases directly to the Supreme Court of Kentucky. If that appeal is unsuccessful a defendant may next file a motion to vacate, set aside or correct the sentence, citing ineffective assistance of counsel.

Schrand stated Dooley’s case was still on direct appeal from the Supreme Court, which had not yet issued an opinion, when the OAG filed the CR 60.02 Motion.

“The OAG filed a request with the Supreme Court to have the proceedings before the Supreme Court stayed. The Supreme Court did so.”

Schrand’s ruling makes that decision unnecessary.

During the CR 60.02 hearing, several additional issues were raised regarding Tally Smith’s conduct, many of which were revealed to the OAG’s office in a thumb drive provided by Nicholas Ramler, a former employee of the Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office.

In a separate civil proceeding, Tally Smith asserts Ramler was a disgruntled employee who attempted to use the thumb drive to blackmail her so he could keep his job. Her attorneys have tried to keep the contents of the thumb drive suppressed, but parts of it have been included as evidence in both the CR 60.02 hearing and the civil proceeding.

Ramler’s attorney, Steve Wolnitzek, contends the thumb drive was copied from a server that everyone in the Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office had access to and that his client is a whistleblower who had a professional obligation to provide its contents to the OAG. He denies Ramler used the disk as leverage in an attempt to keep his job.

The thumb drive includes several notes between Tally Smith and Detective McVay, including a long letter written by the Commonwealth’s Attorney, in which she states:

“Even if I was aware that you had lied here or there on cases, I wouldn’t have wavered in that loyalty to you and ‘having your back.’”

She also indicates in the letter, which she says was never sent, that McVay commonly skirted the rules and it was such common knowledge that other detectives referred to such conduct as “Pulling a Bruce.”

Boone County Judge/Executive Gary Moore had indicated he would wait until Schrand ruled on the CR 60.02 motion before making a comment regarding Tally Smith.

Friday afternoon Moore urged her to resign.

Jennifer Schneider, Michelle Mockbee’s sister, said she is confident a new trial will result in the same outcome for convicted killer David Wayne Dooley (photo by Mark Hansel).

“The ruling today by Circuit Judge J.R. Schrand casts a dark shadow over the Commonwealth Attorney. Although the Commonwealth Attorney is not a county office, as the chief elected official for Boone County, I believe Linda Tally Smith has lost the public’s trust, thus calling into question her ability to effectively execute her duties in our criminal justice system. I join Boone County Attorney Robert Neace in calling for the Boone County Commonwealth Attorney to resign her position.”

Neace publicly called for Tally Smith’s resignation at a Boone County GOP meeting in April where party leaders voted not to make a decision on asking her to step down until after Schrand ruled on the matter.

“I will tell you that in my 31 years of practicing law, this is possibly the most bizarre and unbelievable thing that I have seen,” Neace said then. “People are getting hurt, the justice system is being hurt.”

Jennifer Schneider, Michelle Mockbee’s sister and the family spokesperson throughout the hearing, issued the following statement regarding the decision:

“It is very unfortunate that we have to endure another jury trial in our quest for justice for Michelle.  We respect the court’s decision and we will get through this as a family.  There has been a lot of public opinion surrounding this case since Day 1.  We look forward to the public being made aware of the facts of the case that clearly point to David Dooley’s guilt.  We are confident that in the new trial he will be convicted yet again of this horrific crime. “

Members of the Dooley family could not be reached for comment prior to publication of this story.

The matter is scheduled to come before the Circuit Court on June 14, at 9 a.m. in Courtroom 4A of the Boone County Justice Center for a pretrial conference.

To follow the Tribune’s coverage of this case, click on the links below:

Boone Commonwealth’s Attorney seeks damages from fired employee; says he shared personal info

Questions about conduct of Commonwealth’s Att’y could lead to new trial for convicted murderer Dooley

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

‘Random dude’ key to first day of testimony in Dooley new trial hearing; judge denies motion to recuse

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

Former detective McVay admits to affair with Boone Commonwealth’s Att’y; another video is revealed

Boone Commonwealth’s Attorney Tally Smith admits to affair, says she did not withhold evidence

Testimony completed in Dooley hearing; families must wait several weeks to see if new trial is granted

Tribune analysis: Commonwealth’s Attorney Tally Smith should resign; state AG should investigate

Boone County GOP to wait for resolution of legal matters to discuss asking Tally Smith’s to resign

Contact Mark Hansel at mark.hansel@nkytrib.com

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  1. Dean Knolls says:

    Hooray for some kind of Justice ! What is bad about this is that Boone County Sherriffs office was on local news saying they had reviewed thumbdrive and said they saw no wrongdoing ! Really ? What does that say about the culture within the department. FBI or State Police needs to investigate this Sheriffs department. There needs to be a change at the top as well. How bad is it that he runs for re-election, wins in November, then resigns in January? Only to return weeks later and get a pension plus his old job back. Something smells rotten about that. At least Senator John Schickel was bold enough to call him out on it. Thank goodness for Robert Neace. He had this right a month ago. Shame on Boone GOP for not following his lead. There was no need to wait the Judges decision before asking for her resignation. This goes far beyond the Dooley case. Her own words of unethical behavior is what is the worst here. Having a detectives back if he lies at trial ? How low can they go ? Hopefully there will be charges against her or McVay. One of them lied on stand and NEEDS to be prosecuted to set the example that this type of behavior from those we “are suppose to be” able to trust are the villains here. They need to be held to a much higher standard and when one fails us they should pay the price.

    • Tammy Jarvis says:

      @Dean Knolls
      You hit the nail on the head. Couldn’t have said it better! I agree with all points and more!

  2. Dave Neal says:

    The DA and the detective need to trade places with Mr Dooley and throw the key away. That DA made me sick and the dectective needs all of his cases re-looked at. Both of them are POISEN!

    • Tammy Jrvis says:

      @Dave Neal
      I wholeheartedly agree with you. ALL “non-slam dunk” cases of his AND hers need to be reopened!
      Who knows how many innocent people they’ve put behind bars due to hidden evidence, circumstantial evidence, or other illegal practices.

      • Tammy Jarvis says:


        Sorry, my comment covers my name so it jumped over the ‘a’ in my last name an I didn’t see it. Lol.

  3. Tammy Jarvis says:

    I just watched the trial on TV and even in that short time can say David Dooley was/is INNOCENT.
    I feel horrible that the family must go through this awful process again. However, do they want the ‘right’ person who murdered Michelle behind bars so that Michelle receives ‘true’ justice and so the murderer pays for the crime he committed or are they so willing to have another innocent person’s life ruined because they just want it to be said and done??
    When I seen/heard during the trial that there was a video surveillance camera that had something done 3 days before the murder, that’s a clue.
    Now there’s more evidence that wasn’t shown/heard during the first trial, on top of the affair, on top of “backing him up,” it’s just too much!!
    The old saying goes “innocent until proven guilty” when we all know it’s never been that way. It’s “guilty until proven innocent” and yet again this case proves it!
    Michelle and her family deserve justice, I’m sorry, but this is not the man that should be behind bars.
    I beleive this man, David Dooley is NOT GUILTY for the murder of Michelle Mockbee.

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