By Erica Thomas, managing editor
TRUSSVILLE — The man accused of shooting and killing a man in the parking lot of Cracker Barrel in Trussville on the night of March 28, 2019, has been found guilty of capital murder. After court was adjourned, the mother and stepfather of the victim spoke, as well as the Jury Foreman.
Bryan Hancock, 24, of Pinson, shot Randy Dewayne Young in the head after a dispute over parking, according to both the prosecution and the defense. Young died after being on life support for two days.
Hancock did not take the stand in his own defense.
Before the testimony began in the trial, Judge Clyde Jones explained the four things the state must prove. Those four things were: That Randy Young is dead, that Hancock caused the death of Young by firing a weapon, that Hancock was in a vehicle when he fired a shot, and that in committing the act that caused the death, Hancock intended to kill Young.
Among witnesses called during the trial were Young’s stepfather, who was with him on the night of the shooting. Robert Shepard said his stepson was called “the N-word” by the defendant, which caused him to get upset. The prosecution admitted that Young punched Hancock in the face while Hancock was sitting in the truck. Hancock then responded by shooting Young.
Shepard said after two years, he is thankful the jury saw that he was telling the truth on the stand.
“I thank God for that, you know?” said Shepard. “It’s what we’ve all been praying for and I felt strongly the whole two years that this day would be just as it is because of the type of person that Dewayne was. He was the sweetest person in the world.”
During a preliminary hearing, Shepard had to testify and his testimony had to be recorded because he is living with Stage IV lung cancer. The family didn’t think he would live to see the trial, but Shepard said this is what he has been living for.
“I do pray faithfully and I think it was the will of the Lord,” said Shepard. “It’s true I have Stage IV lung cancer, emphysema, high blood pressure, I mean, some of everything. But the Lord kept me intact because He knew that this was a day that I live for and I’m so thankful.”
Shepard said his stepson wanted to start his own trucking business but he was never able to accomplish that dream.
Young’s mother, Monica Young, also took the stand during the trial. She had tears of joy and sorrow after hearing the verdict.
“Well, I’m feeling relieved, I’m feeling thankful,” Young said. “I’m thankful that justice has been done. I’m thankful that my son’s death, in vain, has been finally vindicated. He still lives on in us. The fact that he was murdered for no reason, I’m just so thankful that the Lord saw fit to let that be shown.”
Young said she was feeling stressed while waiting for the verdict, but it was only less than 30 minutes after being charged that the jury came back with the guilty verdict.
They had capital murder, reckless manslaughter and provocation manslaughter to choose from. Jury Foreman Samuel Collins said there wasn’t a lot to defend.
“Once we got in there, we just put everything up on a whiteboard and we just started going through it,” said Collins.
Collins said no one disagreed with the verdict. He said after the judge explained what “intent” was, the group was clear on what the conviction should be.
“You don’t shoot somebody in the forehead intending to wound them,” Collins added.
Hancock’s attorneys claim the shooting was in self-defense after Young punched Hancock while their client was sitting in a vehicle. No weapon was found to be in Young’s possession at any time during the incident.
You could hear gasps from his family as they heard the guilty verdict. They left the courtroom, many of them in tears. As Hancock remained in the courtroom, he waited until his family exited then broke down sobbing. His attorneys surrounded him and he was then taken out of the courtroom.
Hancock will be sentenced on Sept. 2, 2021.