LIMESTONE COUNTY, Ala. (WHNT) — An all-male jury in Limestone County declared an Ardmore man not guilty of murder over the 2019 shooting death of William Brantley.
Kenneth Wayne Adams, 64, had been charged with murder after the March 28, 2019, incident on Rooker Lane near Oak Grove Road – though Adams maintained he shot Brantley in self-defense.
Investigators at the time believed the shooting was the result of a years-long property dispute.
When deputies responded to the scene that night, they found a white Ford pickup truck with the lights on, and a body lying a few feet away. It was Brantley; he had been shot four times.
A logging truck that had been on Adams’ property was attempting to make a right turn onto Oak Grove Road. Adams was in his vehicle behind it.
Brantley, who was bitter about those trucks constantly driving back and forth on Rooker Lane, went to confront Adams. Dashcam footage from Adams’ vehicle showed Brantley walking up, coming in front of the vehicle and walking to the driver’s side window.
According to court documents, the actual fight happened just out of the camera’s view, but the audio between the two men can be heard, followed by the sound of gunshots.
Adams dialed 911 and reportedly told dispatchers that a man had approached him with a gun, and urged them to send deputies to the scene quickly.
Family and other witnesses reportedly told detectives that both men were armed, adding that deputies had been called out to the same area just hours earlier that day. Authorities at the time confirmed they had responded to the area “several times” before.
“We had been out there, we’d been out there actually the same day. Deputies had been out there and gotten things de-escalated,” explained Stephen Young, of the Limestone County Sheriff’s Office. “They’d been out there previously.”
“Especially in rural areas, people are… passionate about property, its something that’s near and dear to them,” added Young. “Sometimes it may be family related, sometimes you have [a] property that was sold but was from another family.”
According to AL.com, Sgt. Terry Johnson with the Limestone County Sheriff’s Office found that both men were indeed armed, as a pistol was found lying out of the holster near Brantley’s feet.
Kristin King, the Lead Investigator, accused Adams of being the aggressor, but the State argued that the evidence showed he only reached for his gun after he was shot. His gun had been found with a fully-loaded magazine and one bullet in the chamber.
Adams’ defense emphasized the blood spatter found on Brantley’s pistol, theorizing that the blood was only there because Brantley was holding the gun when he was shot, and dropped the gun as he fell.
Jurors were able to visit the scene of the shooting on the last day of the trial on Rooker Lane, and even walked from one end of the road to the other. They later opted to deliberate late into the night, and shortly before 9 p.m. told the judge their decision on Jan. 27: not guilty.
Court records show Shannon Brantley, William Brantley’s widow, filed a wrongful death civil suit against Adams. The case, though active, does not have a court date set.