By Jean Cole
A preliminary hearing for a man accused in the fatal shooting of an Athens man has been waived and his case will now come before a grand jury. No date has been set.
Joel Moyers, 52, of 793 County Road 226, Cullman, was scheduled for a preliminary hearing Tuesday at the Limestone County Courthouse. His case was continued until Nov. 27, but defense attorney Dan Totten of Athens asked the court to waive the hearing.
Moyers is charged with murder and shooting into an occupied dwelling in the Sept. 29 death of 26-year-old Brandon Hydrick of Athens. He is accused of firing one round from his AK-47 assault rifle into the rear of a truck containing Hydrick and his brother, Ryan, 25, who was driving.
The grand jury will decide whether there is adequate evidence to formally charge Moyers.
Moyers was living in a mobile home owned by his mother when the shooting occurred on Fennell Road. Family members of the Hydricks say Brandon and Ryan had been roasting marshmallows and hot dogs with friends at a campsite on Piney Creek and returning to their own homes when they became lost in the Fennell Road area. Moyers spotted their truck in the early morning hours, thought it looked suspicious and tried to stop it. When the young men sped up and away from Moyers, he fired a shot into the truck, which pierced the cab, back seat and the passenger seat and struck Brandon Hydrick in the back.
Moyers told investigators at the scene he fired “a warning shot” into the air and that he did not intend to strike the truck’s occupants.
Investigators have said they do not believe Moyers fired into the air.