The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

Local News

December 29, 2013

Limestone D.A. clears major cases in 2013

Part 1 of 3


ATHENS — Arriaga - murder plea

In November, Deborah Arriaga, 51, of Decatur, pleaded guilty to murder and was sentenced to life in prison. She was initially charged with capital murder ¬ robbery in the April 24, 2010, shooting death of Bryan Wayne Hutto, 43, of Swan Creek Mobile Home Park.

Moss - negligent homicide acquittal

In November, a Limestone County jury found Alabama State Trooper James Heath Moss of Athens innocent of two misdemeanor counts of criminally negligent homicide in connection with a fatal wreck in Limestone County.

On the morning of April 25, 2011, Moss was driving at a high rate of speed to another accident to provide traffic control, when he rear-ended a car containing Jamie Lee Gossett, 31, and his wife, Sarah Rene Gossett, 38, on Lucas Ferry Road. Their vehicle was pushed into a field and burst into flames, killing the Gossetts. The Gossett family was outraged by the verdict, saying evidence showed Moss was traveling at speeds of 106 to 120 mph in the seconds before the crash.

The civil case against Moss, brought by the Gossett families, has not been settled.  

Bryan - vehicular homicide dismissal

A vehicle brake recall led to the dismissal of a vehicular homicide charge against Wes Allen Bryan of Ardmore, Tenn.

On Aug. 3, 2010, Bryan ran a stop sign at Laughmiller Road at U.S. 31 and collided with John Brent Brannon, 35, of Elkmont, who was southbound on 31. Brannon was ejected after his SUV overturned at least twice. He died of blunt-force trauma. Bryan said he tried to stop his truck but was unable. Police found no evidence of intoxication but they charged Bryan with running a stop sign.

Jones said he had to dismiss the charge against Bryan after learning that his truck had been recalled for possible brake problems and Bryan had never been notified of the recall.


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