ATHENS, Alabama – The Limestone County District Attorney will not seek the death penalty against Joel Moyers, who was indicted in December on a charge of capital murder in the shooting death of Brandon Hydrick.
District Attorney Brian Jones said he filed his decision Thursday in Limestone County Circuit Court after talking with Hydrick’s family. Hydrick, 26, died in September after being shot with an automatic weapon while riding in a truck along a rural Limestone County road.
Moyers, who claimed that night he was shooting into the air as a warning although authorities said the bullet’s path indicted otherwise, will now face life in prison if convicted.
Jones said he discussed the option of the death penalty with Hydrick’s parents and siblings and told them rules in the law regarding aggravating circumstances. He said a murder must be considered “atrocious and cruel” to seek the death penalty.
“Every murder is a horrible incidence, but in the law you have to compare the horribleness of one murder to another,” he said.
Brandon Hydrick was killed Saturday, Sept. 29, 2012, in Limestone County (Contributed, Hydrick family)
In addition, Jones told the victim’s family a death penalty case would take longer to come to trial and to resolve even after a conviction.
“In all reality, a death penalty case never ends,” he said. Now that he has filed his decision, the case will move on a faster track with fewer pre-trial motions from defense attorneys.
“It will have a beginning, a middle and an end,” Jones said.
Defense attorneys have until a Feb. 19 hearing to file motions with Circuit Judge Jimmy Woodroof in response to Jones’ decision.
Moyers, who was living in a Fennel Road mobile home at the time of the shooting but then was required as a condition of his bond to move back to his mother’s home in Cullman, was indicted in December but learned of the charge online and ingested pills before he could be arrested. He was taken to Cullman Regional Medical Center and remained in the intensive care unit for five days.
When Moyers was released from the hospital, he was taken to Limestone County Jail, where he is being held without bond on the charges of the indictment: capital murder, reckless murder, intentionally shooting into an occupied vehicle and recklessly shooting into an occupied vehicle.
Moyers was initially arrested following the Sept. 29 shooting of Hydrick, who had recently moved to Limestone County and was riding in a pickup truck with his brother, Ryan Hydrick, 25, of Harvest when Brandon was struck and killed by a round from a semi-automatic weapon.
The weapon was initially identified as an AK-47 but Jones said it is an SKS, which was manufactured in the Soviet Union in the 1940s and ’50s. An SKS uses the same type of ammunition as an AK-47.
The shooting occurred at about 3 a.m. on Fennel Road in rural Limestone County. The brothers recently left a cookout at the home of Brandon’s girlfriend’s family.
Moyers told authorities at the time that he fired his weapon into the air because the young men in the truck were acting suspiciously. However, authorities said the bullet entered low on the truck, traveling through the tailgate, the backseat and the front passenger’s seat, striking Brandon.
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