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Dooley Gets New Trial; Judge/Exec Calls for Prosecutor's Resignation

A convicted murderer will now get a new trial.

David Dooley was convicted in 2014 of murdering Florence wife and mother Michelle Mockbee at their workplace, Thermo Fisher Scientific, in 2012. Mockbee, 42, had been bludgeoned to death.

Dooley was also convicted of tampering with evidence.

He was sentenced to life in prison and appealed directly to the Kentucky Supreme Court. That appeal was stayed by request of the Kentucky Attorney General's Office during a hearing process in which Dooley was requesting a new trial.

On Friday, a judge granted a new trial and vacated the convictions.

In recent months, the case has garnered significant attention, prompted by an extramarital affair between Boone County Commonwealth's Attorney Linda Tally Smith and the lead detective on the case, Bruce McVay. Text messages between the two, revealed publicly, show references to a surveillance video recorded at the Florence work site where Mockbee was murdered. An unidentified man in the video is seen approaching the building the day before the murder happened. The pair discussed the video in their text messages, raising ethical questions, and defense attorneys argued that the messages call the integrity of the conviction into question.

In his decision this week, Boone Circuit Judge James Schrand argued that the video surveillance was not properly shared with the defense attorney during the original trial, and that a new trial will begin with a pre-trial hearing on June 10.

Boone County Judge/Executive Gary Moore called for Tally Smith, a fellow Republican who prosecutes in Boone and Gallatin Counties, to resign.

"The ruling today by Circuit Judge J.R. Schrand casts a dark shadow over the Commonwealth Attorney," Moore said in a statement. "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."
You can read Judge Schrand's full opinion on the matter below.
-Staff report

An earlier version of this story stated that Dooley had appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court, and has been corrected to state the Kentucky Supreme Court. RCN regrets the error.