Accused murderer to stand trial next week

Dale Wayne Bryant

A Madison County man accused of shooting and killing his neighbor is set to stand trial next week.

Dale Wayne Bryant, 56, will stand trial starting next Wednesday, Sept. 11, at the Madison County Courthouse. He faces one count of murder in the first degree after allegedly shooting and killing 30-year-old Samuel Scott Hicks on Aug. 8, 2018.

Bryant pleaded not guilty to the charge last September. His trial is scheduled to last three days.

According to a probable cause affidavit provided to The Record by Fourth Judicial District Prosecuting Attorney Matt Durrett, Bryant allegedly left his home on Madison 4322, wielding a shotgun, around 8 a.m. the morning of Aug. 8. According to the affidavit, Bryant walked to the end of his property and onto the county road, where he was met by Hicks and an altercation ensued after Bryant struck Hicks in the face with the firearm. Following the altercation, Bryant allegedly shot Hicks in the back while Hicks was leaving the scene.

“Witnesses stated that [Bryant] struck Hicks in the face with the shotgun,” the affidavit states. “Hicks took the shotgun from him and a physical altercation ensued. The altercation broke up [and] Hicks started to walk away when Bryant retrieved his shotgun and fired a round at Hicks, missing him and striking a tree, at which time he pumped another round into the chamber and fired again at Hicks, this time striking him in the back as he was going away.”

The affidavit states that Bryant then returned to his home, unloaded the firearm and contacted the sheriff’s office. The responding deputy reported that Hicks “showed no signs of life” when he arrived.

According to the report, Bryant told law officials that he was having “neighbor troubles,” and that his neighbors “were shining laser lights at his residence [during] all hours of the night.”

“He related that he went to the other residence, where he stated he got into an argument which turned physical and he shot Hicks,” the responding deputy reported.

The incident garnered support for Bryant from some of his neighbors. At his arraignment last September, several south county residents stood outside the courthouse with signs stating, “We stand with Dale.” Some of those supporters, while declining to provide many details, indicated they felt the shooting was the result of a rising drug culture in the area.

“We’re here for a good man,” Shane Kimball said last September. “South Madison County is infested with druggies and dopeheads and I feel like this man had to take a stand ... There’s a good man here going to trial that shouldn’t be going to trial.”

According to court documents, prior to his death, Hicks was facing revocation of probation he was serving on charges of assault on a family member, interference with emergency communications and criminal mischief.

Bryant is being represented in his case by Fayetteville-based attorney Terry Harper.

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