A Level Plains man had his case forwarded to a grand jury following a preliminary hearing on July 23.
Chad Dewayne Brogdon, 36, appeared in front of Dale County District Judge Stanley Garner, Jr. on charges of murder and abuse of a corpse in the case of his mother, Penny Newton. Brogdon was represented by attorney John Nicholas Bull.
Thirty-Third Judicial Circuit District Attorney Kirke Adams represented the state and called the Alabama Bureau of Investigation investigator and case manager David McGowan to the stand.
McGowan testified that the Geneva County Sheriff’s Office had received a call on May 14 of a burned vehicle with a body on AL-167 north of Hartford inside the Geneva County lines. He said that the GCSO requested ABI’s help in the matter.
The car had been reported by people who were going to fish, according to McGowan.
McGowan described the car as “burned almost beyond recognition” and said that “literally there’s nothing left but metal.”
Upon further investigation, McGowan said investigators found a severed arm and leg, a partial human skull in the passenger seat and human bones in the trunk along with a saw. McGowan said the investigators believe that the body was cut post mortem.
He said that there were other non-human bones in the car as well, believed to be of a dog.
McGowan, after being asked by Adams, revealed that Newton had a dog and the dog had not been found in the investigation.
He noted that the car was found under a bridge and that several dead birds were around the car most likely from the fire sucking all the oxygen out from under the bridge.
McGowan said that the Geneva County Sheriff was contacted by a homeowner in Geneva who said Brogdon had shown up at their door claiming that he had been robbed in Enterprise and dropped in Clayhatchee. He was asking the homeowners for food and water.
The Geneva County Sheriff took Brogdon to the court house where McGowan first met Brogdon and said he smelled of smoke. Adams asked if it was cigarette smoke or a campfire type smoke smell. McGowan said it was closer to a camp fire and described the smell as “pungent.”
McGowan said that Brogdon was then read his Miranda Rights and he requested a lawyer when McGowan tried to interview him.
ABI received search warrants for Brogdon’s house in Level Plains. McGowan said the house is actually in Dale County in Level Plains but has an Enterprise address and that Brogdon was believed to have lived there with his mother.
Upon investigation of the house, McGowan said that portions of the carpet and ceiling near Newton’s bedroom had been removed. He also said that in the garage, a stand-up freezer was found to have blood on the walls and in a frozen state in the bottom of the freezer. He said results from the blood have yet to be received. He also said that a tire investigators believe match the burned the vehicle was found in the garage.
A friend of Brogdon told investigators that Brogdon had told him that he had a cut-up body in the freezer the Monday before the vehicle was called in, according to McGowan.
The friend was over to do laundry, which the machines were beside the freezer, and asked to be taken home after the conversation with Brogdon.
McGowan said that video footage of the person buying detergent corroborates the person’s claim to be over at Brodgon’s house to do laundry.
McGowan also testified that Brogdon had spent the weekend before the vehicle was called in with another friend who testified that the two had done drugs over the weekend.
The friend said he did not see Newton all weekend, according to McGowan.
The friend also said that Brogdon had taken him to the area where the car would later be found, according to McGowan. He testified that the friend got into an argument at the area and that the friend had gotten out of the car while Brogdon took the trail deeper.
Upon trying to get out of the area, the friend said he had to help Brogdon push his car out of a rut using a board, according to McGowan. He said that the testimony was supported by evidence at the scene.
Brogdon is currently in Dale County Jail with no bond.