The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

February 19, 2013

UPDATE: Judge will consider, then render decision on bail for Moyers

ATHENS — A Limestone County judge will decide soon whether to grant bail to capital murder defendant Joel Patrick Moyers, 52, of Cullman.

Following a three-hour bail hearing Tuesday in which eight  witnesses for the prosecution were called and a disturbing  911 tape was played, Circuit Judge James Woodroof Jr. said he would take the matter under advisement.

Moyers had been free on $260,000 bail after he was initially charged with reckless murder in the Sept. 29, 2012, shooting of Brandon Hydrick, 26, of Athens. Bail was later revoked after a grand jury upgraded Moyers' charge to capital murder. The issue of bail arose again after District Attorney Brian Jones informed the court Jan. 31 he would not seek the death penalty in the case but, rather, life in prison without parole. As a result, defense attorney Dan Totten of Athens, asked the court to reconsider bail for his client. With the death penalty off the table, Jones must now show why Moyers should receive a high bail or be denied bail — either because he is a flight risk or a danger to others.

Totten is seeking reinstatment of Moyers original bail of $260,000. He argued Tuesday that the evidence does not support charging Moyers with capital murder because shooting into an occupied vehicle is not an aggravating circumstance that would justify the charge.