Romance leads to removal of Kentucky prosecutor (again)
The Christian County Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office has been removed from handling a murder case after a judge found that Commonwealth’s Attorney Lynn Pryor had a conflict of interest from previously dating the lead detective.
Pryor, who took over as top county prosecutor in January 2007, and her entire office are now off the murder case of Jarred Tabor Long due to Pryor’s relationship with Christian County Sheriff’s Office Captain Ed Stokes.
Long was arrested in 2012 for the murder of Vincent Goslyn. Pryor and Stokes subsequently dated for a number months in 2013. Long’s defense attorneys argued that the relationship created a conflict of interest which merited removing Pryor. As the Journal Sentinel reported, Long’s attorneys asserted that criminal defendants have a right to trial by a “disinterested prosecutor whose vision is not clouded” and “an intimate relationship between a prosecuting attorney and a lead investigative detective would be considered anything but disinterested.”
Judge Andrew Self agreed and said Pryor’s participation in the case would “undermine confidence in the integrity of the judicial system and potentially the integrity of the verdict in this case.”
Long was initially released on bail, although that was revoked earlier this yearafter Jessie Goslyn, Vincent’s wife, agreed to plead guilty and testify against Long. Long’s new bail is $1 million.
Authorities claim that Jessie Goslyn was having an affair with Long and lured her husband out to a remote area of Christian County where Long was waiting to kill him.
A romance between a prosecutor and law enforcement officer became a relevant issue in another murder case on the other side of Kentucky earlier this year.
David Wayne Dooley had been convicted and sentenced to life in prison for the murder of Michelle Mockbee, but the conviction and sentence were thrown out after a judge ruled that the Boone County Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office withheld material information from the defendant, including a video showing an unknown man trying to enter the building where Dooley and Mockbee both worked hours before the killing occurred.
During the post-conviction proceedings, an illicit affair came to light between Boone County Commonwealth’s Attorney Linda Talley Smith, who was married to a judge, and Boone County Sheriff’s investigator Bruce McVay, the lead investigator in the case.
Talley Smith and McVay contradicted one another about whether they ever discussed the video in question. McVay said he told Talley Smith about the video; she denied ever hearing about it.
Dooley now faces a retrial, which will be handled by the Kentucky Attorney General’s Office.
Talley Smith has faced an avalanche of criticism, including calls for her to resign. A special prosecutor was recently appointed to investigate her conduct.