A murder trial scheduled next week in Dothan has been canceled after a former Mobile County Commissioner accused of killing his girlfriend pleaded guilty to lesser charges.
Stephen Nodine, 49, admitted to misdemeanor domestic violence and felony perjury charges. In exchange, murder and felony stalking charges were dropped.
Nodine was arrested in 2010 in connection with the shooting death of longtime girlfriend, Angel Downs, whose body was found outside her Baldwin County home. Defense attorneys contend Ms. Downs shot herself just after Nodine left her home. The perjury charge stems from statements Nodine made about financial resources following his arrest.
The trial was moved to Dothan after a jury was unable to reach a verdict during Nodine's first murder trial. Circuit Judge Charles Partin moved the second trial to the Houston County Courthouse because of what he deemed to be excessive pretrial publicity. Nodine will be sentenced next month.
Sheriff Andy Hughes and Chief Deputy Donald Valenza had been working this week to make sure the courthouse and surroundings were secure in anticipation of media frenzy.