Medical examiner testifies in David Dooley retrial

Judge bans recording devices from courtroom
Posted at 7:46 AM, Feb 25, 2019
and last updated 2019-02-25 18:19:40-05

BURLINGTON, Ky. — Investigators believe an industrial tape gun may have been used to bash Michelle Mockbee in the head.

Mockbee's coworker, David Dooley, is accused of killing her at Thermo Fisher Scientific in 2012.

On Monday, jurors heard from Dr. Gregory Wanger, the medical examiner who conducted Mockbee's autopsy. He said there were at least four "areas of impact," parts of Mockbee's body that were attacked.

Wanger focused in on skull fractures, brain bleeding and bruising. There were other injuries, like cuts on her foot and bruising to her liver, that indicate she was dragged. Jurors saw some gruesome photos of her injuries, the worst to her head.

Investigators looked into multiple objects which could have been used to hit Mockbee, including a chair in the office, a tape gun since her hands were bound with tape and even a hammer.

Wanger said an autopsy is like a box, and he believes only one of the objects fits because of the damage to Mockbee's skin.

"For me, I think it's the tape gun," he said.

Jurors also heard from a DNA expert who tested evidence in Mockbee's death. Britton Morin testified that DNA was tested from Mockbee's shirt and pants, an Applebee's bag she was carrying and part of the bag that was wrapped around her head.

Morin said nothing conclusively links Dooley, but his profile can't be excluded from what they did find.

Dooley was convicted in 2014 of killing Mockbee, but a judge granted him a new trial after defense attorneys said they had never received a video showing an unidentified video outside the building where Mockbee was killed.

Recording devices banned

People viewing WCPO's live stream of the trial were left in the dark Monday afternoon after Judge James Schrand ruled that no cameras, phones or laptops would be allowed in the courtroom.

It was an abrupt change of face that was announced as parties were returning to court after lunch. WCPO and other news outlets had previously been allowed to record video and stream it live online. Court officials said there was a concern raised by one of the attorneys about live streaming video of the proceedings, with no further explanation initially given.

The video for the live streams was shot by a rotation of pool photographers from news outlets covering the trial and shared by those news outlets. Per Schrand's earlier order, the stream was turned off during breaks in the trial.

A WCPO reporter continued taking notes on paper in the meantime.

The trial is scheduled to continue Tuesday.