No Physical Evidence, but Janitor on Trial in Co-Worker's Slaying

Kentucky trial hinges on a tape gun, suspect's inconsistencies.

ByABC News
October 6, 2014, 10:49 AM

— -- A Kentucky janitor is on trial, accused of beating a co-worker, a mother of two, to death.

While prosecutors say David Dooley killed Michelle Mockbee in 2012, they have no physical evidence: no murder weapon, not even a smoking gun.

Prosecutors believe Mockbee’s killer may have used a tape gun (dispenser) to strike the woman. At this point, authorities have not found a tape gun with Mockbee’s DNA, nor has one been linked to Dooley. Indeed, Dooley’s DNA has not been tied to any part of the crime.

Authorities say they started to zero in on Dooley because of inconsistencies in his story.

Dooley and Mockbee, 42, worked together at the Florence, Kentucky, distribution facility of Thermo Fisher Scientific, a Massachusetts-based biotechnology product development company. Mockbee worked in human resources. She was found dead at the plant on the morning after Memorial Day, the victim of blunt force trauma to the head, authorities say.

Initially, police said, Dooley, 38, declined to say he and a co-worker discovered Mockbee’s body, but then his story changed. Additionally, Mockbee’s husband, Dan, who also worked at the plant, told investigators that he’d had disagreements with Dooley in the past, calling him “shady.”

Attorney Linda Tally Smith said Dooley’s actions didn’t add up.

“Every person at Thermo Fisher Scientific noticed things about him that stuck out like a sore thumb,” Smith said.

Boone County Sheriff’s Det. Everett Stahl said a tape gun was brought in during the interrogation to see how Dooley would react.

“I could see it in his face that he was thinking, ‘How did they get that?’” Stahl said.

The motive for Mockbee’s slaying is still unclear, and prosecutors admit they do not have any physical evidence against Dooley, who has pleaded not guilty.

He faces charges of murder, kidnapping and tampering with evidence in a trial that began Sept. 18.