Salt Lake man charged with murder sent threats to victim’s family, police say

Jesse Joel Bruce was arrested Friday for investigating two cases of retaliation against a witness, victim or informant after sending threatening messages to the family of a man charged with murder. (Salt Lake County Jail)

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SALT LAKE CITY – A Salt Lake City man charged with stabbing his friend and roommate in 2019 was arrested Friday on charges of sending threatening messages to the victim’s family.

Jesse Joel Bruce, 43, is charged with murder, a first degree crime, in the death of Cory Haney, 40. Police responded to a report of a fight on 797 E. Northcliffe Drive (600 North) on March 21, 2019. and reported finding Bruce on the floor with a knife beside him. Haney was found dead in another hallway with multiple stab wounds to his head and neck.

Bruce, who pleaded guilty to the murder charges, remained in the Salt Lake County Jail until a judge agreed to reduce his bail from $ 1 million to $ 250,000 on June 29, 2020. The judge said he needed to bring public safety into line with Bruce’s law at a speedy trial. At this point in time, no criminal proceedings were held or scheduled because of the pandemic. Bruce put bail shortly thereafter and was ordered to wear an ankle monitor and not be in contact with the victim’s family as a condition of his release. The judge denied a prosecutor’s request for house arrest, according to court records.

However, Bruce was sent to Salt Lake County Jail on Friday to investigate two cases of retaliation against a witness, victim or informant after allegedly sending electronic messages to Haney’s mother and brother.

“Jesse threatened the victim’s mother by saying he had documented evidence that the victim raped women. Jesse said he would release the evidence if she did not ‘stop your endless attacks on me,'” it said an affidavit from the police.

“How much mud are you going to let loose on your precious family?” According to the police, it said in one of the messages.

“You attack me and my family again and again in public, you know neither the truth nor what happened. Your guilt drives you,” it says in another message to the mother of the victim, it says in the affidavit. The woman told police that she was scared after receiving the news.

Haney’s mother, Kay Lynn Stafford, told KSL in April that she lost faith in the system when Bruce was allowed to leave prison.

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

Judge Richard Mckelvie granted a motion to bail Bruce following his recent arrest on Friday.

Immediately after Haney was killed in 2019 and Bruce was hospitalized for a leg injury, Bruce reportedly said he wanted to speak to someone.

“I just killed someone. I killed my best friend for 25 years,” he said, according to the indictment.


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