Humphrey Farm Where Campers Gathered
Brandon Hydrick was murdered on Saturday, September 29, 2012. He was leaving a campfire and cookout arranged by his girlfriend on her family’s property in North Alabama.
As the friends were leaving for the evening, a pickup truck driven by Brandon’s brother, Ryan, 25, was struck by an AK-47 rifle. From 100 yards away, the assault weapon penetrated the truck’s tailgate, rear cab, backseat, and then the front passenger seat. The bullet bore into the 26-year-old Brandon Hydrick and killed him.
Alleged Murderer Joel Moyers
Moyers, 52, who lived in the neighborhood for decades in a mobile home owned by his mother, was charged with murder and with shooting into an occupied vehicle.
Limestone County Sheriff Mike Blakely said Moyers told authorities he shot the assault rifle as a warning because he thought the young men seemed suspicious as they drove on Fennell Road.
However, four witnesses stated the brothers had been at a cookout and marshmallow roast near Piney Creek on property owned by the family of Brandon’s girlfriend, Bronwen Murray of Huntsville. As the evening drew to a close all the campfire attendees exited the property for the evening.
Murray commented to reporters that Brandon often drove down Fennell Road, where her family has a country home, and that they had been warned of Moyers’ reputation.
Brandon With Girlfriend Bronwen
“We were aware to be cautious around him because he had threatened other people in the neighborhood and he was known to have a lot of weapons,” Murray said. She recalled that Brandon had passed Moyers’ home dozens of times in recent months, even seeing Moyers outside his mobile home once and waving hello to him. She said Moyers waved back.
After 48 hours of incarceration, Moyers was released from Limestone County Jail on $260,000 bond. District Judge Jerry Batts set bond on the conditions that Moyers relinquish any firearms and not possess a gun while free on bail. Also, he must move to his mother’s home in Cullman, Alabama where she resides in a lake-front vacation property, estimated to be worth $340,000, according to tax assessment records.
In the months following the murder, Brandon’s friends and family petitioned the District Attorney, Brian Jones, to upgrade the charges to Capital Murder. A Facebook page, Justice for Brandon, was liked by more than 1,300 people over an eight-week period. More than 600 people also signed an online petition to support capital murder charges for Moyers, which was then sent to Jones. Ultimately, the charges were upgraded to capital murder in December 2012 and Moyers’ bond revoked, which placed him in jail to await trial.
In a surprising turn of events, District Attorney Brian Jones announced he would not seek the death penalty. One week later a judge granted Joel Moyers’ a bond hearing. Despite facing a recently upgraded charge of capital murder, Moyers’ attorneys may now be able to see him released on $260,000 bond. The motions will be heard in Limestone County on February 19 at 9 am.