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BOLIVIA—Testimony for the defense began Monday in the civil trial of former Holden Beach police officer Terri Oxford, who sued the town of Holden Beach for wrongful termination and gender discrimination after she was fired from the police department in 2008.
Attorneys for Oxford rested their case Monday afternoon, a week after the trial first began in Brunswick County Superior Court.
The town of Holden Beach began its case Monday, but not before attorney Norwood Blanchard made a motion for Superior Court Judge Ola Lewis to issue a direct verdict, claiming Oxford failed to establish a case beyond speculation, and there was insufficient evidence to take the case to the jury.
After hearing from attorneys for both parties, Lewis denied the motion, and the trial continued.
The first witness for the defense was N.C. State Bureau of Investigation Special Agent in Charge Mac Warner.
Warner’s testimony was centered around claims Oxford sought a Division of Criminal Information (DCI) report on Holden Beach Police Chief Wally Layne regarding claims of an ongoing Driving While Impaired charge and outstanding child support in Virginia, which, ultimately, led to her termination, according to evidence presented at trial.
Warner testified in late January or early February 2008, he was contacted by Shallotte Police Chief Rodney Gause, who asked Warner to run a DCI report on Layne at the request of Oxford.
Warner said he told Gause, “I wouldn’t touch that with a 10-foot pole,” adding Warner’s supervisor advised him “to stay out of it.”
But in a sworn affidavit, published as evidence in the trial Monday, Gause claims he never asked Warner to run a DCI report.
“I did not tell Sgt. Oxford I would call [Warner] or that I intended to call him,” Gause’s affidavit states.
Gause’s affidavit states he called Warner to tell him about the allegations, not to run a DCI report for him or Oxford.
“He’s mistaken in this case, because that’s how I recall it. He speaks for himself. I speak for myself. I have no reason to lie in this case,” Warner said.
Warner said if Oxford had concerns about Layne’s alleged criminal activity, she should have reported it to a district attorney, sheriff or a judge.
While the SBI investigates police conduct in North Carolina, Warner said they have no jurisdiction to investigate claims of DWI or child support in Virginia.
Testimony for the defense was scheduled to continue Tuesday morning.
Check back for more information, and for the full story, pick up the July 29 issue of the Beacon.