District attorney takes stand in Center detective trial

Judy Reynolds
Judy Reynolds
Lynda K. Russell
Lynda K. Russell

CENTER, TX (KTRE) - The Shelby County district attorney expressed her shock when she determined that a Center Police detective had lied to a grand jury about the investigation of a criminal case.

Joey Duane Haley, 37, is charged with aggravated perjury.

According to a July 2010 KTRE report, Haley was being investigated for his testimony at that month's grand jury hearing. Haley testified on his investigation of a fight between two Shelby County deputies, which led to an indictment of Desmond McDaniel, for assault of a peace officer.

District Attorney Lynda K. Russell said Haley took the stand at a meeting of a grand jury and denied that Texas rangers were investigating the fight.

Russell testified Haley said, "They did not do and investigation ... I guess they had more important things to do."

Russell testified how she found out Texas Ranger Tom Davis was investigating the case.

"I was like totally 100 percent in shock," Russell said. "... because Joey had told us they hadn't done a report and I believed him."

Russell said before that time she had respected Haley and thought of him as the rising star of the department. She said since the time Haley has been charged, there has been a huge rift between her office and the police department.

Testimony was halted several times as the defense raised objections, working to poke holes in the state's case.

Haley's defense attorney questioned Russell about how her office handled the case of the fighting deputies. She testified she had told Haley and the Center Police Chief they needed to have the case ready to present to a grand jury within a couple weeks. The defense pointed out the statute of limitations on assaulting a public servant is at least three years. She testified a lot of people were talking around town since several law enforcement officers had been accused of crimes and she wanted to get everything taken care of quickly.

Later the defense asked the judge to exclude the testimony of Russell and her investigator Kevin Windham after a witness testified she saw the two talking about the case during a lunch break. Russell testified she couldn't remember exactly what their conversation entailed. However, the witness claimed she overheard Russell telling her investigator she was "...glad that was over." The woman said Russell told Windham everything the prosecution asked her, the defense would object. The judge overruled the defense's objection.

During morning testimony, Texas Ranger Tom Davis testified originally the Shelby County Sheriff did not need the Texas Rangers involved. He said he believed the sheriff's office asked for the agency's help after consulting with the county attorney.

Davis testified about how he had investigated the fight and kept Haley updated on the investigation. He said Haley emailed Davis and said, "I'm not sure how to handle this thing ... all the guys in this mess are my friends."

Most of the morning testimony involved confusion over dates and Davis' investigation into the fight.

Haley's attorney, John Heath, asked the judge to strike Davis' testimony from the record, because Heath was not allowed to speak to Davis before the trial. The judge denied his request.

"It's hard, it's very hard because I know my son is innocent and the charges, the facts are not there," said Judy Reynolds, Haley's mother, in an interview on Tuesday. "They're not truthful facts and it's very hard to watch someone crucify, try to crucify my son."

Reynolds said she wishes she could take her son's place.

"I would like to tell the state instead of doing this to him, they should be commending him on the job that he's done instead of focusing on this that has no merit," Reynolds said.

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