BURLINGTON, Ky. — A jury found David Dooley guilty for the second time in the death of his coworker and recommended a total sentence of 43 years in prison.
Dooley, 45, was convicted of murder and tampering with evidence Wednesday in the 2012 death of Michelle Mockbee. Jurors deliberated for more than six hours before returning the guilty verdicts.
Dooley broke down in tears and shook his head as Judge J.R. Schrand read the verdict. Mockbee's husband, Dan, was visibly relieved. He hugged sheriff's office investigators afterward.
Mockbee's youngest daughter, Madelyn, work her mom's birthstone ring around her neck. She was 7 when her mom was killed, and she remembered her full of life.
"She was just a really sweet and caring mom," Madelyn said. "Like, if we were sad or anything negative, she would always try her best to make sure we were just the opposite. She was amazing."
A sentencing hearing followed the verdict. Amanda Cuthbert, Dooley's stepdaughter, pleaded with jurors to be lenient.
"I never though that he did this," she said. "My family has just been torn apart by this, and kids have suffered on both sides for both families and I understand, but he has two daughters of his own. One is having a child soon."
The jury recommended Dooley be sentenced to 38 years for murder and five years for tampering, to serve consecutively. Final sentencing is scheduled for April 11.
Dooley faced a sentence of 20-50 years or life in prison on the murder charge, and up to five years for the tampering charge. He will be eligible for parole after serving 85 percent of his murder sentence and 15 percent of his tampering sentence.
Prosecutors said Dooley beat Mockbee to death at the Thermo Fisher Scientific warehouse where they both worked after she discovered he was triple dipping time cards. Dooley was a janitor there and Mockbee was in charge of HR. Prosecutors said he had to be the killer, because he was the only one who was at the warehouse when she was killed who left, and no murder weapon has ever been found.
The defense tried to argue that Dan Mockbee could have been the killer. He said that hurt, but he was prepared for it.
"Hopefully, we can move on," he said. "You know, you never get over it. There's no way to get over anything like this. It's the girls' mother, it's my — Michelle was the love of my life, and you're never going to get past that. And it's just great that it's over."
This was the second time Dooley has been convicted of killing Mockbee. A jury previously found him guilty in 2014 of murdering her, but a judge later threw that conviction out and ruled that Dooley was entitled to a retrial after defense attorneys said they had never received a piece of video evidence. The video showed an unidentified man walking near the building the night before Mockbee was found dead.
Michelle Mockbee's sister, Jennifer Schneider, said the wait during deliberations was nerve-wracking.
"We have a huge weight lifted off our shoulders now, just to have a guilty verdict again," she said. "A big relief, and just hopefully everyone sees the truth now.
This time, the Kentucky Attorney General's Office handled the prosecution.
"Justice demands a fair trial process," Attorney General Andy Beshear said in a written statement. "Through this retrial, Mr. Dooley received a fair trial and was convicted. Justice has now been served."
Dooley's defense team said they plan to appeal the guilty verdict. Defense attorney Jeff Dawson said they feel good about their odds.
"We're going to keep fighting, take it up on appeal and see what the [Kentucky] Supreme Court wants to do with it, and hopefully one day down the road, the jury will see it right," Dawson said.