- Associated Press - Wednesday, August 26, 2015

ATHENS, Ala. (AP) - Prosecutors are trying to block defense allegations of juror misconduct in a capital murder trial that ended with a north Alabama man convicted and sentenced to life without parole.

Attorneys for Joel Moyers recently filed a sworn statement from a holdout juror in Moyers’ trial, alleging members improperly deliberated outside the jury room. The juror, Patrick Scott Gilliam, said he felt pressured to vote for guilt.

But in court documents, Limestone County prosecutors said the defense was wrongly delving into deliberations and asked a judge to disregard the claims.

A judge considering whether to throw out defense subpoenas seeking testimony from jurors heard arguments Wednesday but didn’t immediately issue any ruling.

Moyers was convicted in May of fatally shooting Brandon Hydrick, 26, 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, 55, of Cullman said he didn’t mean to kill Hydrick. He is currently serving his sentence at Kilby prison near Montgomery.

Attorneys for Moyers asked Circuit Judge James Woodruff earlier this month to order a new trial, citing claims by Gilliam that some jury members improperly discussed the case during a lunch break after testimony had concluded.

In a court document, Gilliam described himself as the only juror who opposed a capital murder conviction. He said five other jurors, during a lunch break at a Zaxby’s restaurant, discussed ways to make him change his mind, which he eventually did “under pressure.”

“I fought for 8½ hours all by myself and in the end I felt pressured to cast a guilty vote for capital murder,” said Gilliam. “I don’t think that the defendant ever intended to kill that boy and I feel to this day that the state failed to prove that he intended to kill that boy.”

The defense also argued that many jurors didn’t conclude that Moyers intended to kill Hydrick, a key element in capital murder.

Prosecutors asked the judge to strike Gilliam’s statement from the record, arguing that the defense failed to show there was an “extraneous influence” on deliberations.

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