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Man arrested for contacting mother, brother of friend he’s accused of killing

FILE (KSL TV)

SALT LAKE CITY — A man who has been charged with murder but is out on bail was arrested Friday after police say he sent messages to two family members of the man he’s accused of killing.

Jesse Joel Bruce, 43, was booked into the Salt Lake County Jail for investigation of two counts of retaliation against a witness, victim or informant — a third-degree felony.

According to court documents, Bruce sent electronic messages Thursday to the mother and brother of Cory Haney, who Bruce is accused of stabbing to death in March 2019.

“Jesse threatened the victim’s mother by saying he had documented evidence that the victim was raping women. Jesse said he would release the evidence if they did not ‘stop your endless assault against me,'” read the probable cause statement.

The message went on to say, “counter suits are pending already. How much mud do you want released against your precious family?”

Court documents state Bruce also told Haney’s mother, “I have been patient. Very patient. You keep attacking me and my family in public. You know not the truth or what happened. Your guilt is driving you. It is sad, and pathetic.”

In his message to Haney’s brother, Bruce said he had “documented evidence” of the brother “raping and extorting women,” according to the probable cause statement.

He also told the brother to “stop your family’s assault.”

Police say the homicide victim’s mother told them she was “terrified” after she received the messages from Bruce.

Bruce’s murder trial was initially set for early 2020, but with the pandemic, everything was put on hold, except for his 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.

Bruce’s bail was lowered from $1 million to $250,000, which he posted in late July 2020.

The judge stipulated in that meeting that Bruce wear an ankle monitor and have no contact with victims or witnesses.

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