Nearly 13 years after the high-profile death of 45-year-old realtor Angel Downs in Gulf Shores, the true crime show “Accident, Suicide or Murder” on Oxygen featured her story.
Downs was found shot to death in her driveway on May 9, 2010. Gulf Shores Police responded and determined Downs had a gunshot wound to the right side of her head. A pistol was found near her body.
Theories on how she died swirled in south Alabama. Some believed she killed herself because she had attempted suicide three years before by taking a mixture of pills and alcohol. Toxicology results following her death revealed she had several substances in her system.
Downs’ married boyfriend, Stephen Nodine, a Mobile County Commissioner, was quickly identified as a person of interest. Neighbors reported seeing a truck matching the description of Nodine’s truck leave Downs’ house after hearing a gunshot. Downs’ family also spoke out, saying they believed Nodine killed her, although there was no physical evidence tying him to the scene. He said he did spend time with Downs that day and came to her house just before her death to get his wallet that he had accidentally left there earlier. However, he claims he didn’t see Downs when he returned for his wallet, and he left and went to several locations, including a restaurant parking lot where he changed clothes, before going home.
When Nodine’s truck was taken in by investigators, they found marijuana in the truck, and he was charged with ethics violations.
The Baldwin County District Attorney’s Office determined at the time they had enough evidence to charge Nodine with murder. A grand jury indicted him, but the DA wasn’t done. After investigating further, the DA accused Nodine of using unlawful drugs while owning firearms, and he was subsequently indicted on a federal gun charge. Over the next few months, a stalking charge was also added to the indictment.
Eventually, Nodine was convicted of a misdemeanor ethics violation and was sentenced to 15 months in prison. After a new DA took over, Nodine was charged with criminally negligent homicide. Prosecutors contended Nodine somehow drove Downs to kill herself. Nodine signed a plea deal agreeing to charges of harassment and perjury. He was sentenced to 10 years for perjury and two concurrent years for harassment and the ethics violation. He served two years and has since been released.
Nodine maintained his innocence and appeared on the Oxygen show featuring Downs.
“There was no evidence that I held a gun to her head, shot her, staged the scene to make it look like a suicide,” Nodine said.
Some friends of Downs admit they do not know what happened to their loved one that night, but they believe Nodine was responsible.
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