By Erica Thomas, managing editor
TRUSSVILLE — The case of Bryan Hancock, the man accused in the March 28, 2019, shooting in the parking lot of the Trussville Cracker Barrel, will be heard in front of a Jefferson County Judge on Wednesday, March 3, 2021.
Attorneys representing Hancock said the Stand Your Ground hearing, which will take place in front of Judge Clyde Jones, will be an opportunity for the court to hear Hancock’s side of the story.
Hancock is charged with capital murder in the death of Randy Dewayne Young. Young was shot in the head in the parking lot of the restaurant after a dispute over parking, according to both parties. However, Hancock’s attorneys claim the shooting was in self-defense. Hancock’s family has also said Hancock felt he had to protect himself after getting into an altercation with the victim. The family and Attorney Richard S. Jaffe said it would be out of Hancock’s character to use deadly force if he did not feel his life was in danger.
Jaffe said video proves the suspect was sitting in a friend’s truck when Young approached him and struck him in the face. Witness testimony during a preliminary hearing is also something attorneys are pointing to as proof of self defense.
Investigators determined the incident started after a vehicle parked in such a manner that it blocked Young’s vehicle.
Young’s stepfather made a video testimony to be used in court proceedings. At the time of the preliinary hearing, the stepfather had been diagnosed with stage IV lung cancer, so video was made to preserve his account of what happened that night. Jaffe said that due to a technical problem, the video will not be available but he hopes transcripts will be made available.
During the testimony, the stepfather told the court that when he walked outside of Cracker Barrel and into the parking lot, he witnessed Hancock using a racial slur towards Young and heard Young threatening Hancock. That’s when, he said, a single shot was fired, wounding Young. Young was hospitalized at UAB for treatment. He died two days later.
Young’s family said he was not a confrontational individual. Although they said they believe he would’ve defended himself, they do not believe he would’ve started an argument that would lead to him being shot in the head at point-blank-range. They said he had never been in trouble and was known as a hard worker.
Jaffe said his client had no intention of harming anyone and that race did not play a part in the shooting death of Young. In fact, the defense contends Hancock was struck in the face by Young before the shooting. The fact that Young did not have a weapon could make the Stand Your Ground defense difficult, Jaffe said. Either way, the legal team for Hancock believes they have a strong case for self-defense.
Hancock remains in the Jefferson County Jail with no bond. The trial has been continued several times due to COVID-19.
The hearing Wednesday is scheduled to begin at 9 a.m. If the judge decides against the Stand Your Ground defense, the capital murder trial will be held on April 19, 2021.
Hancock has pleaded not guilty.