ATHENS, Ala. (WHNT) – Joel Moyers, 52, will be transferred to the Limestone County Jail as soon as he is released from the Cullman Regional Medical Center. A Limestone County Grand Jury reconvened late Friday afternoon to hear new evidence in the murder case against Moyers and returned an upgraded capital murder indictment against him.
Friday’s four-count indictment, the front page shown below, charges Moyers with capital murder, murder extreme indifference, and two counts of shooting into an occupied vehicle.
Moyers had been charged with murder and shooting into an occupied vehicle following the September 29th shooting death of 26-year old Brandon Hydrick, of Athens. Hydrick, and his younger brother, Ryan, had stopped briefly on the side of the road after leaving a bonfire hosted by Hydrick’s girlfriend, Browen Murray, on her parent’s property on Fennel Road. Moyers was living in a mobile home near Murray’s property.
Limestone County Sheriff Mike Blakely says Moyers told deputies he saw Hydrick’s truck and feared they were in the process of committing a crime. Blakely says Moyers grabbed an assault rifle and attempted to stop the brothers as they were leaving. When they didn’t stop, Blakely says Moyers told investigators he fired a warning shot into the air.
The bullet from Moyers gun, however, pierced the tailgate of the small pick-up truck, entered the cab and struck Brandon Hydrick in the back. He was pronounced dead at the scene.
“We finally got the report from DFS (Alabama Department of Forensic Science) Tuesday afternoon,” Limestone County District Attorney Brian Jones says. “We called the Grand Jury back into session Friday afternoon and armed with this new information, we were able to get a capital murder indictment against him,” Jones said.
Moyers had been released from jail in early October on bonds totaling $260,000. Other conditions of his bond included the surrender of all of his guns, agree not to possess a gun while on bond, to stay away from the area near the scene of the shooting, and to reside at his mother’s home in Cullman County. The grand jury’s actions Friday, upgrading the charge to capital murder, means his bond is automatically revoked and requires him to be re-arrested. Bond is typically not granted in capital murder cases, according to prosecutors.
Limestone County Sheriff’s Deputies went to Cullman to serve the indictment but learned Moyers had been rushed to Cullman Regional Medical Center for an undisclosed medical issue. Hospital officials confirm Moyers has not yet been released. Deputies remain at the hospital Saturday morning and will transfer Moyers back to jail as soon as he is released from the hospital.
“I appreciate the DFS moving so quickly on this,” Jones said. He added, “When you consider their backlog of cases, they got our evidence processed rather quickly.” Jones said he could not reveal the nature of the evidence, but investigators had previously told WHNT News 19 that the gun believed used in the shooting had been sent to the forensic science lab for evaluation and testing. Investigators say it is standard practice to have the lab test a weapon to verify it is capable of being fired and testing to see if a bullet taken as evidence was fired by the gun.