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Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Republican Commissioner Tied to Shooting Death in Mobile County

A Republican commissioner in Mobile County has been questioned in the shooting death of a 45-year-old real-estate agent.

Angel Downs was found in her driveway on Sunday night, dead from a single gunshot wound. Police met with Stephen Nodine and executed a search warrant on his red county-issued pickup truck, which neighbors said was seen leaving the scene.

This is Nodine's second recent brush with the law. He remains under investigation after marijuana was found in his truck last December.

News reports indicate that Downs was a strikingly attractive woman. Mobile County District Attorney Judy Newcomb said investigators have completed a re-examination of Downs' residence. An early news report indicated that authorities found evidence that pointed to suicide. But followups have not mentioned that possibility. Reports the Mobile Press-Register:

The search warrant for Downs' townhouse at The Ridge allowed investigators to examine any computers, cell phones and other electronic devices inside, Newcomb said.

An autopsy of Downs' body was also completed Monday, according to Scott Millroy of the Alabama Department of Forensic Sciences lab in Mobile.

Investigators have yet to reveal the autopsy's findings, however.

Friends and coworkers remembered Downs fondly:

"Angel Downs was a wonderful employee and will be greatly missed," said Robb Cunningham, president of Benchmark Homes in Mobile and Baldwin counties. "She always had a smile on her face and was always optimistic, even in the midst of a tough real estate market."

Downs was married in 1993 in Savannah, Ga., but divorced in August 2005 while living in Baldwin County, court records show. She had no children. Cunningham said her relatives reside in Georgia.

Downs, whose territory was Foley, Roberstdale and Loxley, was promoted to sales manager in Baldwin County in October 2008 and was manager of the company's build-on-your-lot division, Cunningham said.

Nodine, a Republican, represents Mobile County's second district. His biography says Nodine "has stood for conservative values, fought for common sense solutions to tough challenges and worked to implement a clear vision for more jobs, better roads, more parks and green space, safer communities and a brighter future."

Here is a report from a Mobile television station. In it, an official is asked about the possibility that Nodine's truck was spotted in Downs' neighborhood and says that he could have been there on "regional business."

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