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Judge dismisses efforts to remove Midland's District Attorney

Earlier this month, a pair of attorneys representing a Midland resident attempted to begin the process of removing Midland County District Attorney Laura Nodolf from office.

They made a number of accusations, including that Nodolf committed an illegal search during the investigation into the killing of a police officer and misled a grand jury to secure an indictment.

On Monday, a judge dismissed the case. 

An effort to remove Midland County District Attorney Laura Nodolf for allegedly committing official misconduct or displaying incompetency was blocked by Judge Kelly Moore on Monday.

“Having considered the applicable case law, statutory authority, and all the facts and circumstances...the motion was not well taken and should be denied,” Moore wrote in a ruling dismissing the case.

Midland resident David Wilson, along with two attorneys representing him, originally asked the court to remove Nodolf earlier this month. They alleged she had committed an illegal search and misled a grand juryin pursuit of convicting Wilson of manslaughter, later upgraded to murder, for killing Midland police officer Nathan Heidelburg.

The push to remove the DA stemmed from an incident on March 5, 2019, when Wilson’s home security system malfunctioned and notified law enforcement there was a break-in. But the security system failed to notify Wilson or anyone else in the house of the tripped alarm or that officers were on their way. 

When law enforcement arrived, Wilson said he believed they were home invaders and shot at them, killing officer Heidelburg. A jury later found Wilson innocent of murder in the officer’s death.

Wilson and his attorneys claim that Nodolf made mistakes from the beginning of the investigation into the incident. Soon after the shooting, Wilson’s legal team say, security cameras showed Nodolf, along with police officers, inside Wilson’s home without a warrant.

His attorneys would later confirm that Nodolf was present for Wilson’s interrogation before he had been charged with a crime, directing how he should be questioned by investigators. Court documents also outline that Nodolf allegedly misled a grand jury in an effort to secure the initial criminal indictment.

“What she did was basically manufactured the questions and answers she needed to be able to have probable cause to arrest him,” Frank Sellers, an attorney for Wilson, told Marfa Public Radio. “She participated in the interrogation, searched his home without a warrant and lied to the grand jury to get the indictment.”

But the motion to remove Nodolf as D.A. was not enough to convince Judge Moore that there was a case against Nodolf on the grounds she committed either official misconduct or displayed incompetence. 

Nodolf told the Midland Reporter-Telegram that efforts like the one that aimed to remove her from office are distractions and that “it is gratifying to have this matter concluded so we can continue to work on behalf of the citizens of Midland County."

In this type of proceeding Wilson won’t be able to appeal the judge’s decision.

Mitch Borden is Permian Basin Reporter & Producer at Marfa Public Radio.