The second day of the Dale Wayne Bryant trial for the fatal shooting of Samuel Scott Hicks lasted more than more than 11 hours.
Thursday, testimony of prosecution witnesses Dakota Stillwell, Aaron Burnett, and Gary Justice Dill, all of Combs, were at loggerheads with Bryant’s over one crucial point. Was a shotgun owned by Stillwell’s grandpa on the scene or not? If not, Bryant’s claim of self defense is sorely weakened.
Bryant is accused of the fatal shooting of 30-year-old Samuel Scott Hicks on Aug. 8, 2018, after a confrontation with neighbors over rude behaviors that began, Bryant said, in spring 2018 and worsened as time went on.
That May was when Stillwell placed a trailer about 30 feet from the Bryant home around 2 a.m. one morning. In her testimony, Mary Bryant, wife of the defendant, said it quickly became a “drug trailer,” a name she adopted because of strong smells coming from it and cans, propane tanks, tubing, batteries, and tarps littered around it.
Bryant and his wife described months of chronic loud music; heavy, often loud, traffic; both headlights and lazar lights shining into their home; and trash strewn about by Stillwell’s dogs. Mary Bryant testified that on some nights as many as 40 cars would come and go from the Stillwell’s.
In a discussion between Bryant and Stillwell, Stillwell conceded that, yes, those behaviors were not good and he would “take care” of the dogs, trash, visitors, headlights, and lazars. The two men shook hands. Things improved for a few days them began to revert.
Events spiraled out of control on the morning of Aug. 8, 2018, when Bryant shot at a dog “messing” in his yard. This is where parties’ accounts of events begin to diverge significantly from one another, especially on the presence or absence of a shotgun within the reach of Hicks. The Honorable Judge Mark Lindsay said, “What we have is a conflict in stories,” and that the jury must decide who they believe. They will do so on Friday, Sept. 13.