The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

Local News

December 15, 2012

Hydrick's girlfriend sounds off on arrest

— Thursday’s arrest of Joel Moyers on capital murder charges brought a sense of relief this week to the girlfriend of Brandon Hydrick, the 26-year-old Harvest man Moyers is accused of shooting.

Though she’s in Spain visiting her sister, Bronwen Murray — who dated Hydrick for about a year — said in an email that she felt justice had prevailed when she found out a grand jury had charged Moyers with capital murder.

Moyers told sheriff’s deputies he believed Hydrick and his brother, Ryan Hydrick, were would-be thieves when he spotted their truck on Fennel Lane on the night of Sept. 29. He said he fired a warning shot into the air to scare them.

The bullet entered the tailgate of the truck, however, and struck Brandon Hydrick in the back, killing him. District Attorney Brian Jones said last week that a report from the Alabama Department of Forensic Sciences offers proof that Moyers’ 50-year-old Chinese-made assault rifle did not misfire.

“ … (Jones) worked diligently to make sure he had enough forensic evidence to nail the case,” Murray said.

She said while it’s satisfying to know that Moyers is behind bars and that he and the Hydrick family will have their day in court, it doesn’t change the fact that Hydrick was killed.

“He was a wonderful human being whom we all love and miss every day; a young man who did nothing to deserve a rifle shot in the back, and someone who should still be with us,” she said.

Murray said the sadness over Hydrick’s passing comes and goes, but she’s managing. She has scaled back on her holiday commitments to spend time with her sister in Spain, which she said has provided a perspective on things.

“You would think a big event like Thanksgiving or Christmas would be really tough, but for me, it’s actually the small things that hurt the most,” she said. “Seeing kids playing soccer, a runner on the street or a pretty day that Brandon would have loved. Having the knowledge that he isn’t here to enjoy that … stabs me like a knife straight through my heart.”

Following Hydrick’s death, Moyers was initially charged with murder and released on $260,000 bond. Murray, who was incensed by the lesser charge, used the Internet to not only tell the story of the relationship she had with Hydrick, but also to rally support for a capital murder charge for Moyers.

A Facebook page, Justice for Brandon, was liked by more than 1,300 people over an eight-week period. More than 600 people also signed an online petition to support capital murder charges for Moyers, which was then sent to Jones.

Murray said a woman in Italy signed the petition, which shows the “power and reach” of the Internet.

“Information moves faster now than ever, and the Internet and social media is like word of mouth on steroids,” she said.

The speed in which information spreads also provided complications in the Moyers case. Following the grand jury’s decision to charge him with capital murder, a television station in Huntsville broke the story before Jones had completed swearing out an arrest warrant for Moyers.

The same day, Moyers was admitted to Cullman Regional Medical Center after reportedly trying to harm himself by ingesting a handful of pills. He stayed in the hospital from Dec. 7 until Thursday, when he was finally released from a doctor’s care and transported to the Limestone County Jail.

Jones said last week he’s investigating how word of the indictment spread so quickly, as it could be dangerous for law-enforcement officers who make the arrests and for suspects who know their arrest is imminent.

Murray said there would be no positive outcome for this case. She said the Hydrick family deserves to see Moyers convicted by a jury and sentenced by a judge.

“It is now more poignant — particularly in light of recent national events — to examine what motivates others to use mortal violence against one another, and why they have access to the weapons that carry out such heinous crimes,” she said.

Jones said last week that Moyers would likely have an arraignment hearing within the month that would determine when his trail will begin. He will continue to stay in the Limestone County Jail, as those charged with capital murder are not eligible for bond.

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