Controversial former politician and convicted felon Stephen Nodine left the Baldwin County Corrections Center Oct. 13, concluding a two-year sentence for perjury, ethics violations and harassment charges. The former Mobile County Commissioner will be on probation for another 36 months.
Despite notifying media of his impending freedom two days earlier, Nodine declined to make extensive remarks, instead appearing to merely savor the moment in front of the cameras conjured outside his attorney’s office.
“I’ll have more to say at five o’ clock today,” Nodine told the media. He would issue another press release at 2:29 p.m., delaying that event.
“I am planning a press conference on a date and time to be determined, either this week or next week,” the afternoon release read. “There are a couple of key players who are not available today. I will notify you in the coming days when it will be scheduled.”
He later left the premises in a light-colored SUV bearing Baldwin County license plates.
Though Baldwin County law enforcement said Nodine was slated to be released at 8 a.m., it was shortly before 7 a.m. when he emerged from lock-up with his belongings in a trash bag, dodging media as he scurried across the street to attorney Pascal Bruijn’s office.
On Oct. 11, Nodine sent a press release to more than 145 media addresses drumming up interest in his imminent freedom. After first listing his former political resume, he maintained his victim status at the hands of an out-of-control justice system.
“In the coming days, I will release newly discovered investigative reports and information that clearly shows my innocence was known on May 9, 2010,” Nodine wrote. “I will also release information and interviews with former investigators revealing that the charges of perjury were to ‘ease the pain of a prosecutorial system that failed.’”
Following the morning’s public appearance by Nodine, Angel Downs’ family issued their own statement. They took care to insist Downs was the “true victim” and to underscore Nodine’s evasiveness.
“Funny how Stephen contacted the Dr. Phil show requesting to be on the show,” they wrote. “Then when he found out that Angel’s family and the prosecutors where (sic) going to be on the show, he backed out and refused to go on. Again, he doesn’t want to have to answer questions.”
They reiterated their belief “100 [percent] that Stephen Nodine murdered Angel.”
Nodine claims he is looking for a job on the Gulf Coast.
As the afternoon wore on, Nodine was spied in former downtown Mobile haunts. He made an appearance at Café 219 and Heroes Sports Bar. He also told media he went with his son to pray at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception.
This concludes the latest chapter for the firebrand whose political career crashed around him starting in December 2009, when marijuana was discovered in his county-issued pick-up truck.
On May 9, 2012, Nodine’s longtime mistress Angel Downs died in the driveway of her Gulf Shores home and neighbors saw the politician leaving the scene at high speed. By the end of the month, Nodine would be charged with her murder.
Federal prosecutors then charged Nodine with a violation for owning firearms while possessing illegal drugs. He would serve 12 months of a 15-month sentence in a south Florida minimum-security facility. His three-year probation for that sentence ends in 2015.
Nodine’s impeachment for misusing county funds on pleasure junkets to New Orleans and Gulf Shores ended with his resignation from the county commission.
He pleaded guilty to the marijuana charges and received probation.
Nodine’s Baldwin County trial in December 2012 ended with the jury only convicting on ethics charges while deadlocking on stalking and murder charges.
Nodine maintained his prosecution by outgoing Baldwin County District Attorney Judy Newcomb was politically motivated. Newcomb’s successor, current DA Hallie Dixon, declined to retry Nodine on previous charges and instead acted on lesser charges from a new grand jury.
Alabama Attorney General Luther Strange then assigned special prosecutor and former Baldwin DA David Whetstone to the case. The new prosecutor vowed damning new evidence, but in the final days before retrial in Dothan, he dropped the murder and stalking charges and agreed to a plea on harassment and perjury. Nodine was slapped with perjury when a jailhouse telephone conversation revealed he had hidden personal funds to earn court-appointed defense counsel.
Outgoing Baldwin Circuit Judge Charles Partin ordered Nodine to serve two years of a 10-year sentence for perjury before three years of probation. He was given two concurrent one-year sentences for the harassment and ethics.