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Utah man accused of murder now formally charged with harassing victim's family

Jesse Joel Bruce, who is already charged with murder, has now been criminally charged for allegedly sending threatening messages to the alleged victim's family.

Jesse Joel Bruce, who is already charged with murder, has now been criminally charged for allegedly sending threatening messages to the alleged victim's family. (Salt Lake County Jail)



Estimated read time: 2-3 minutes

SALT LAKE CITY — A man currently awaiting trial for murder now faces additional charges for allegedly threatening the mother and brother of the man he allegedly killed.

Jesse Joel Bruce, 43, of Syracuse, was charged Monday in 3rd District Court with two counts of retaliation against a witness, victim or informant, a third-degree felony.

Bruce is already charged with murder, a first-degree felony, in the stabbing death of 40-year-old Cory Haney on Mar. 21, 2019. Bruce allegedly stabbed Haney, who was his housemate and landlord, multiple times in the head and neck, according to charging documents.

On Thursday, Haney's mother, Kaylyn Stafford, received several messages through Facebook from Bruce, his new charges state. In the messages, Bruce claimed to have video evidence of Haney committing crimes, and he threatened to publicly release the video, according to the charges.

The charging documents state that Bruce wrote, "Countersuits are also pending already. How much mud do you want released against your precious family? … 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."

A message was also sent to Haney's brother, Keith Haney, with Bruce again claiming Cory Haney was involved in illegal activity.

"Stop your family's assault," Bruce stated in his message, court documents indicate.

A trial was originally scheduled for Bruce in July 2020, but was postponed due to COVID-19 restrictions at the Matheson Courthouse. It was then rescheduled for January, but the trial was once again continued. The same thing happened again in October. Bruce's jury trial is currently scheduled to begin in June.

After Bruce's trial was postponed in 2020, his bail was reduced from $1 million to $250,000 and he was released to pretrial services, according to court records. He was also ordered to wear a GPS monitor after being released from custody, something that angered Haney's mother.

After Bruce allegedly sent messages to Haney's family, prosecutors made a motion on Thursday to have Bruce's bail revoked and a warrant was issued for his arrest.

"The defendant is also making direct threats to (the family), attempting to interfere with the case and silence the family from making public statements, which is their right," the motion states. "By committing this new offense, he made a mockery of the court's order of release, which afforded him the privilege of remaining in the community while he awaited trial."

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