MOBILE, Ala. (WALA) - UPDATE: November 2, 2012 - Steve Nodine has been cleared to participate in the Baldwin County Community Corrections Program beginning Monday, November 05, 2012. He will work for his attorney, Pascal Brujin.
October 24, 2012 - Judge Charles Partin handed down the maximum sentence Wednesday, October 24 to former Mobile County Commissioner Steve Nodine.
In September, Nodine made a plea deal with the state and pleaded guilty to perjury and a domestic violence charge. The deal was made days before his second murder trial was set to start for the death of his longtime girlfriend Angel Downs.
Downs' mother and two of her sisters gave victim's impact statements to the court. All three broke down on the stand while describing their sister, their sister's relationship with Steve Nodine, and her death. All three looked at Partin, and asked him to give Nodine the maximum sentence.
For the perjury charge, Partin sentenced Nodine to 10 years in jail, split by two, with 36 months of probation. This means he will serve two years in the Baldwin County Corrections facility, and then be on 36 months of supervised probation.
If Nodine violates his probation terms in those 36 months, he would be arrested and would serve the rest of his sentence, which would be the remaining five years.
"I think the lesson here is, if you're going to commit a crime in Baldwin County or Mobile County, don't be named Steven Nodine," said defense attorney Pascal Bruijn.
Nodine's defense team, John Beck and Bruijn were shocked at the sentence.
"I believe it was different then similar situated defendants," said Bruijn.
For the domestic violence charge, Partin sentenced Nodine to one year in the county jail.
Partin also sentenced Nodine to a year in the county jail for the ethics violation.
The ethics and domestic violence jail-time will run concurrent to the jail time Nodine faces for the perjury charge.
"We will see if Mr. Nodine will be able to walk the narrow path for the next 5 years, there's a possibility, but with his background of drugs and other problems, he'll have a difficult time," said Whetstone.
Partin also issued a list of fines, including $2,000 for the perjury charge, $500 for the domestic violence charge, and $500 for the ethics charge.
"Because of his background, his record, his record of abusing women and beating them. There's a whole lot of bad things that he's been convicted of and charged in the past that the judge heard," Whetstone said.
Partin also ruled that Nodine would have to pay back what the state paid for his defense.
Defense attorney Pascal Bruijn was appointed to the case after Nodine's first trial, when Nodine claimed he was indigent. That statement lead to the perjury charges, when the state found out he had a bank account and funds Nodine claimed he didn't have.
John Beck joined Nodine's defense team soon after Bruijn was appointed.
After Wednesday's hearing, Bruijn said the sentence was unfair, claiming that the only reason Nodine got what he did was because of who he was. Bruijn said he has never heard of anyone getting anything other than probation on the charges that Nodine was facing.
Angel Downs died of a single gunshot would to the head on Mother's Day 2010. Downs spent the day with Nodine on Pensacola Beach. Downs was set to meet up with friends that night for dinner, but never made it. She was found lying in her driveway of her Gulf Shores home.
Angel Downs' mother, and two sisters, spoke in court, asking Partin to give Nodine the maximum sentence after the hearing the group was relieved.
"Sure, we would love to see him behind bars forever, but we knew that was not going to happen. We came into this expecting nothing, we've been so disappointed the last 2 years. We were thrilled he was getting something," said Susan Bloodworth, Downs' sister.
The family still believes Nodine caused their sister's death, and still believe it was not suicide.
Nodine's attorneys are going to see if he qualifies for community corrections during his two year sentence. That would allow Nodine to work during the day, and return to the corrections facility at night and on the weekends. It has not been decided if Nodine qualifies to do that.
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