ATHENS — Brandon Hydrick’s Sept. 29, 2012, shooting death left his girlfriend, Bronwen Murray, devastated.
“I thought he was going to be ‘the one,’ and my family did, too,” Murray said outside a Limestone County courtroom Tuesday where her parents’ Belle Mina neighbor, Joel Moyers, is on trial for the 26-year-old Athens man’s shooting death.
“I know his family will never get over it,” said Murray, a publicist who managed former Huntsville Congressman Parker Griffith’s unsuccessful bid for governor in 2014.
An athlete who ran marathons and played in an adult soccer league, Hydrick at the time of his death was a medical alarm systems technician and engineering student at the University of Alabama in Huntsville. He shared his love for the outdoors by taking Murray canoeing and hiking on her family’s property off Fennell Road — the same property where Hydrick was later killed.
The couple met in November 2011 at the Krispy Kreme Challenge in Huntsville. A member of Huntsville Young Professionals, Murray volunteered on behalf of the group for the cystic fibrosis fundraiser. Hydrick ran the 5K, which required downing a dozen doughnuts midway through the run.
When he crossed the finish line, Murray, 35, handed him a T-shirt, and they started talking, thanks to a mutual friend.
“I thought he was handsome,” Murray said.
A teen actress who played Cousin Mary in the 1995 Disney film “Tom and Huck,” she asked Hydrick to that evening’s Margarita Ball in Huntsville. She had an extra ticket but no date to the invitation-only Christmas toy collection extravaganza.
The holidays came and went, and they dated before making their relationship Facebook official March 15, 2012.
She remembers going to the movies at Bridge Street Towne Centre in Huntsville and complaining because it was raining when they left the theater. He shed his long-sleeved shirt for her and did a bare-chested cartwheel in the rain.
“He was always making people laugh, and people gravitated toward him,” Murray said. “Everybody just loved him.”
“He was the kindest, funniest and nicest,” added her mother, Mallory Murray. “He never met a stranger.”
On the night of Hydrick’s death, he took Murray to her nearby home because she had plans for the next day.
“I gave him a key and said, ‘You and Ryan can camp out or come back here. Don’t get into trouble. Hah, hah. I love you.’ “
Murray learned of Hydrick’s death the next morning.
“I thought maybe he encountered a criminal in the woods or a hunter and had some type of accident,” she said.
Then, she learned Moyers was the alleged shooter.
“He had a bad reputation of scaring and intimidating, and had pulled guns on people in the past,” Murray said.
Although she is dating someone else, Murray said she thinks of Hydrick daily.
“If I see someone running or playing soccer …,” she said.
Reprint from The Decatur Daily
Staff Writer Gwen Albers