- Associated Press - Thursday, August 27, 2015

ATHENS, Ala. (AP) - Defense lawyers alleging juror misconduct can question members of the panel that convicted a north Alabama man of capital murder earlier this year, a judge ruled Thursday.

Limestone County Circuit Judge James Woodruff refused prosecution requests to block subpoenas for members of the jury, saying he needed to hear their testimony to determine whether anything improper occurred during the trial of Joel Moyers.

Attorneys for Moyers, 55, have filed a sworn statement from a holdout juror alleging other jury members improperly deliberated outside court. The juror said he didn’t believe Moyers meant to kill Brandon Hydrick, 26, but finally voted for guilt under pressure.

Convicted in May and now serving a term of life without parole, Moyers is asking Woodruff for a new trial.

Prosecutors claimed it would be improper to question jurors about deliberations, but the judge said he needed to hear from members of the jury.

“The only way this court can determine if extraneous facts influenced the jury’s deliberations and resulting verdict is to have said jurors examined under oath in a court proceeding,” Woodruff ruled.

Jury members could be questioned during a hearing set for next Tuesday.

Moyers was convicted of fatally shooting Hydrick in 2012. Hydrick, who was a passenger in a pickup truck driven by his brother, died after being hit with a slug from a rifle fired along a rural road.

Moyers, of Cullman, said he didn’t mean to kill Hydrick.

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