(CN) – A man accused of filming fights between residents at a Texas facility for the developmentally disabled won his motion to suppress the cell phone on which he allegedly captured the videos.
State District Judge Sandra Watts in Corpus Christi said the videos could not be admitted into evidence, because the cell phone was essentially stolen property.
Nearly 20 videos had been discovered on the phone, which was found at a clothing store and later turned in to police. The videos allegedly showed staff members forcing residents to fight each other at the Corpus Christi State School.
The phone belonged to Timothy Dixon, who is accused of arranging and filming some of the fights.
Prosecutors argued that the phone was admissible as abandoned property, but Judge Watts said the state presented no evidence that Dixon had intentionally abandoned the phone.
“This is not a popular decision and I understand that,” Watts said. “I don’t have any choice in this case.”
Prosecutors admitted that the phone was their “best evidence,” but said the setback would not dismantle their case.