Judge makes ruling on pre-trial motions

Law enforcement’s wired recording of a conversation between James Bartee and Nicholas Blackwell outside Bartee’s home is admissible by the judge’s ruling today. Also, according to Judge Lawton McIntosh, the transcript of that recording is to be allowed as evidence. The defense side had objected. Bartee lawyer Douglas Brannon said law enforcement refers to Blackwell as a confidential informant, but he considers Blackwell “a snitch.” Blackwell had once supported Bartee for Sheriff. But in opening arguments, Deputy Solicitor David Wagner said once Bartee approached Blackwell about kidnapping Jimmy Williams, it weighed heavily on Blackwell’s mind and he decided to tell Oconee sheriff’s officer David Smith what was happening. The judge’s rulings on yesterday’s pre-trial motions appear to include something for both sides. McIntosh said he will allow the defense to bring up a shooting incident in which Blackwell had been considered a suspect. And he will allow, if the defense so chooses, evidence that Bartee is suing Blackwell and that Blackwell is counter-suing.