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BAY MINETTE, Ala. (WALA) - A Baldwin County judge has some decisions to make. Judge Charles Partin heard more than five hours of testimony Monday regarding the murder case against former Mobile County Commissioner Steve Nodine.
It was a hearing on two motions filed by the defense. The first claimed prosecutorial misconduct. The second was a request to move the trial out of Baldwin County.
Nodine's defense team asked Partin to throw out his case. They claim former Baldwin County District Attorney Judy Newcomb withheld evidence.
Special Prosecutor David Whetstone said the testimony proves otherwise.
"I think that the evidence was clear that they have the burden of proof, and the three people most involved in the case didn't happen," said Whetstone.
Some of those who took the stand include Newcomb, current District Attorney Hallie Dixon and former Nodine defense attorney Dennis Knizley.
The defense argued that Newcomb didn't try hard enough to unlock Angel Downs' blackberry.
Also in question was a set of pictures the defense attorneys said Newcomb didn't share.
Knizley said he did see the pictures.
The defense also questioned Newcomb's timing in indicting Nodine.
"Even Mrs. Newcomb said the investigation was still going on. After you complete the investigation, then you indict," said Defense attorney Pascal Bruijn.
The defense also said Dr. Eugene Hart, the state forensic examiner who performed the autopsy on Downs was persuaded by investigators to change his findings from suicide to undetermined.
Witnesses testified there was a heated exchange prior to his report, but Hart said it didn't lead him to any certain conclusions.
"Nobody wants to say they were cajoled into anything, but it was obvious that more than one witness said he was cajoled into changing his testimony," said Bruijn.
The defense also asked that the trial be moved out of Baldwin County claiming that courtroom tweets and the media have tainted the jury pool. They asked it be moved to Lee County.
"I know these citizens very well, and I believe we can find 12 good true people who will give both sides a fair trial," said Whetstone.
Whetstone said although he doesn't think it is necessary, he doesn't object to the trial being moved.
Both sides have been asked to give the judge written arguments before he makes a decision. Whetstone said it should be less than 30 days.
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