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BR judge issues arrest warrant for death investigator who skipped high-profile murder trial

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BATON ROUGE - In a strange twist to a highly publicized Baton Rouge murder trial, the judge over the case has issued an arrest warrant for a New Orleans-area investigator who did not show up to testify.

The shake-up came on day two of Meshell Hale's bench trial for first-degree murder.

Hale is accused of killing her boyfriend, Damian Skipper, in Baton Rouge by poisoning him, though detectives suspect she did something similar to her husband, Arthur Noflin, about a year later in New Orleans. 

After learning Noflin was sick with similar symptoms before he died, law enforcement exhumed Skipper's body and found barium acetate, a potentially lethal poison.

A coroner's office investigator who performed the autopsy in the New Orleans case, Samantha Huber, was asked to testify at the trial. However, documents filed Tuesday show Judge Raymond Bigelow issued a bench warrant for Huber after she failed to show up. 

Frustrated prosecutors said Huber had been uncooperative since November. The New Orleans Coroner's Office told WBRZ Tuesday afternoon that Huber was sick with COVID but would be in court when the trial resumes Thursday.

A decision is expected in Hale's trial by week's end. 

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