CORONAVIRUS UTAH

Utah Mother Advocates For Son After His Alleged Killer Was Released On Bail

Apr 30, 2021, 11:20 PM | Updated: May 3, 2021, 9:54 am

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – Dozens of victims have been waiting for justice to be served, but like most other things, the coronavirus pandemic put that on hold. For one Utah mother whose son was brutally stabbed to death in 2019, she believes it opened a loophole for the suspect.

“He would do anything for anyone,” said Kay Lynn Stafford of her son.

Stafford described her son, Cory Haney, as a friend to everyone, but fears that generosity led to his death.

“Unfortunately it was, it definitely was,” said Stafford.

In March 2019, Stafford got a call that changed her life.

“That just started our nightmare saying that Cory was killed,” she said.

Detectives quickly zeroed in on Haney’s roommate and long-time friend Jesse Joel Bruce, who allegedly confessed to the killing in a 911 call, later claiming it was self-defense.

“Cory had been stabbed to death brutally,” said Stafford.

The trial was initially set for early 2020, but with the pandemic, everything was put on hold, except for Bruce’s request to lower his bond.

The request had been passed on twice before, however, during a June 2020 scheduling conference and hearing for a bond reduction motion, the judge had a change of heart.

“The allegations in the probable cause statement appear pretty sound,” said Judge Richard McKelvie. “Balancing that is the fact that, as we sit here right now, we have no idea, quite frankly, when we’ll be able to try this case. Our numbers in terms of the coronavirus in the last week or so have not been going in the right direction. We are nowhere near close to have any meaningful proceeding here. It’s a very difficult balance to try to find a way to assuage the concerns of the state and the family of the victim against the defendant’s right for a speedy trial.”

Citing Bruce’s right to a speedy trial, the judge agreed to lower the $1 million bond.

“From the current set to $250,000,” he said.

Bruce posted bail in late July 2020.

The judge stipulated that Bruce wear an ankle monitor and have no contact with victims or witnesses, but declined the request to place him under house arrest.

“I couldn’t believe that he would even be allowed to get out on bail with the brutal murder and the brutal things he had done to my son,” said Stafford. “Cory didn’t get a time out, he didn’t have a chance to just take a break, so why does the criminal get to take a break?”

Bruce is currently under supervision of Salt Lake County’s Criminal Justice Services.

In an email statement to KSL-TV, Austin Mort, trial attorney for the Salt Lake Legal Defender Association, said in part of his client, “Jesse is presumed innocent,” and is an example of why judges need to look beyond the allegations when deciding to release someone before their trial:  

“Jesse sat in jail for sixteen months waiting for his chance to go to court and contest this allegation. After two delays of his trial date — one caused by the State being unprepared for the original trial date in the first week of March 2020, the other by COVID bringing the court system to a grinding halt last summer — Judge McKelvie modified the bail amount to $250,000, which Jesse was able to post through a bail-bondsman. Since then, Jesse has had his every move tracked by an ankle monitor which was installed and maintained entirely at his own expense. The court-approved monitoring company files regular updates with the court about Jesse’s compliance, and has yet to report even the slightest violation. Judge McKelvie set additional clear conditions of Jesse’s release, which are designed to ensure his continued appearance in court, the safety of the community, and the integrity of the court process, and Jesse has abided by every single one of them. Jesse is presumed innocent, and has proven to be an example of why it is necessary in every case for the courts to look beyond the nature of the allegations when deciding whether someone should sit in jail while awaiting trial.” 

According to Geoff Fatah, public information officer for The Utah Court system, more than 288 criminal jury trials were put on hold during the pandemic.

“I had a lot of faith in that justice system,” said Stafford.

Stafford said that faith was diminishing, especially after learning priority in scheduling jury trials is given to cases where the suspect is still in jail.

“(The defense) don’t care how far out it is because he is free and walking,” she said. “The timing for the trail provided a loophole for him.”

Stafford said she can only start healing when jury trials resume.

“There will always be a hole in my heart,” she said. “It won’t heal.”

Bruce’s trial has been set for October.

In the meantime, Haney’s parents have filed a civil lawsuit for $2 million, citing it as a desperate effort to hold him accountable.

KSL 5 TV Live

Top Stories

Coronavirus Utah

FILE: Davis School District....
Mike Anderson

Davis School District adds resources to handle COVID-19

The Davis School District is shifting their approach to COVID, putting more decisions in the hands of parents while getting more funds to help monitor the virus.
4 days ago
...
Ashley Moser

Utah family hasn’t seen father in nearly 1,000 days due to COVID-19 travel restrictions

“None of us were expecting to not see him three years later,” a daughter shares how her Father remains in China.
6 days ago
ATLANTA, GA - UNDATED:  This undated handout photo from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevent...
Jed Boal

U of U researcher joins international team to confirm specific origin of COVID-19

New research released Tuesday confirmed the origin of COVID-19. A University of Utah Health and an international team of researchers found that the earliest cases of COVID-19 in humans emerged at a wholesale fish market in Wuhan, China in December 2019.
21 days ago
Only 50% of Utans are vaccinated and cases are surging because of the Omicron variant BA.5. FILE PH...
Jed Boal

BA.5 variant driving new surge of Utah COVID-19 cases

President Joe Biden’s positive Covid case Thursday was a sober reminder that Utah is not done fending off COVID-19 in many communities.
26 days ago
(File) Intermountain Healthcare Faculty in Murray....
Jed Boal

COVID-19 hospitalizations doubled, but mortality rate is low

Hospitals see an uptick in COVID hospitalizations due to a new infectious variant that is less lethal but more transmittable.
1 month ago
Intermountain Medical Center in Murray (KSL TV)...
Jed Boal

Researchers: Intermittent fasting provides protection against severe COVID-19

Doctors at Intermountain Healthcare have researched the health benefits of intermittent fasting for nearly a decade. Their latest discovery: intermittent fasting helps protect against severe COVID, but it is not a replacement for vaccination.
1 month ago

Sponsored Articles

tips how to quit smoking...

7 Tips How to Quit Smoking | Quitting Smoking Might be One of the Hardest Things You Ever Do but Here’s Where You Can Start

Quitting smoking cigarettes can be incredibly difficult. Here are 7 tips how to quit smoking to help you on your quitting journey.
Photo: Storyblocks...
Blue Stakes of Utah 811

Blue Stakes of Utah 811: 5 Reasons To Call 811 Before You Dig When Working in Your Yard

Call before you dig. Even at home, you could end up with serious injuries or broken utilities just because you didn't call Blue Stakes of Utah 811.
Days of...
Days of '47 Rodeo

TRIVIA: How well do you know your rodeo? Take this quiz before you go to the Days of ’47!

The Utah Days of ’47 Rodeo presented by Zions Bank is a one-of-a-kind Gold Medal Rodeo being held July 20-23, 25 at 7:30 PM. The Days of ’47 Rodeo How well do you know your rodeo trivia? Take the quiz to test your know-all before heading out to the Days of ’47 Rodeo at the […]
cyber security through multi factor authentication setup...
Les Olson IT

How multi factor authentication setup helps companies stay safe

Multi factor authentication (MFA) setup is an important security measure that every company should implement for their workers. It’s also wise to install it for your personal and home accounts.
...
Lighting Design

Check out these stunning lamps with stained glass shades

Lamps with stained glass shades are statement pieces that are more than simply aesthetic. They also meet a functional requirement: to light up a room.
Address Bar of internet browser shows internet access...
AARP Utah

Utah voters 50+ support increased access to Internet

The AARP surveyed Utah voters aged 50 plus about internet access and if they support the expansion of broadband, especially in rural areas currently lacking it.
Utah Mother Advocates For Son After His Alleged Killer Was Released On Bail