Columbus convicted murderer seeks new trial

Convicted murder seeks new trial

COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - A man convicted in one of Columbus' most horrendous crimes is asking for a new trial. The crime happened in 2005 inside 24-year old Mary Rodgers' E. J. Knight Gardens Apartment on Baker Plaza Drive. Her baby girl was found lying next to her in a pool of blood.

We spoke with an anonymous neighbor who vividly remembers that horrible day eight years ago. "This was just terrible to kill a mother and that little angel will never see her mom again."

In 2008, Antonio Magee was sentenced to life in prison for Rodgers' murder. This week, he was brought back to Columbus for an appeal hearing.

During consultation with the public defender's office, Magee claimed he felt Attorney Bob Wadkins provided inadequate counsel during the trial.

In a letter obtained by News Leader 9's Roslyn Giles, Magee stated two reasons for the alleged misrepresentation. He claimed an alibi witness who he said was with him in Atlanta at the time of the murder was never called to testify. Also, hair found at the scene was never tested.

"I can't go into the facts or evidence of the case, but there was a good tactical reason why the witness wasn't called to testify and the hair tests would not been pertinent either way," said Wadkins.

Wadkins says such claims are not unusual by convicted felons.

"The public defender's office tries a good number of cases and when we lose, we have to file a motion for a new trial or an appeal," added Wadkins.

In this case, due to Magee's allegations against Wadkins, there is now a conflict of interest for the public defender office to continue representing Magee. Judge William Rumer issued an order seeking a new attorney for Magee and scheduled the new trial hearing for November 12.

In the meantime, Magee will be held in the Muscogee County Jail until he goes back before a judge in the death of his girlfriend who moved to Columbus following Hurricane Katrina.

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