Suspect in killing faces suit

Victim’s kin cite wrongful death

The family of Samuel Scott Hicks filed a wrongful-death lawsuit Tuesday against the man who is charged with first-degree murder in the shooting death of Hicks on Aug. 8, 2018.

Dale Wayne Bryant, 56, of Combs is scheduled for a three-day jury trial on the murder charge beginning next Wednesday in Huntsville.

Bryant shot his neighbor in the back with a 12-gauge shotgun after an argument, according to a probable-cause report.

Hicks, 30, died at the scene.

Bryant has pleaded innocent. A dozen people showed up to support Bryant when he was arraigned a year ago, said Matt Durrett, prosecuting attorney for the judicial circuit that includes Washington and Madison counties.

Bryant told police that "he was having neighbor troubles," according to the report by Lt. Russell Alberts of the Madison County sheriff's office.

"They were shining laser lights at his residence all hours of the night," Alberts wrote.

Bryant left his house about 8 a.m. with a shotgun in his hands and walked to Madison County Road 4322, according to the report.

Bryant told Alberts that he went to Hicks' residence, where the two men got into an argument, the report said. Bryant told Alberts the argument turned physical and that he shot Hicks, according to the report.

"Witnesses stated that he struck Hicks in the face with the shotgun," Alberts wrote. "Hicks took the shotgun from him and a physical altercation ensued. The altercation broke up.

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."

Bryant went to his house, unloaded the shotgun and called the sheriff's office, according to the report. Then he went outside and waited for deputies to arrive, the report said.

For the past year, Bryant has been free on bond.

The lawsuit was filed by Kyle Lippard and Luke Haller of the Danielson Law Firm in Fayetteville on behalf of Benjamin Hicks, administrator of the estate of Samuel Scott Hicks.

According to the suit, heirs include Benjamin Hicks, Brenda Hicks, Samuel Hicks, Cooper Hicks and Whitney Stewart.

Attorneys are requesting a jury trial and an unspecified amount in damages, citing Samuel Scott Hicks' pain and suffering before his death, his funeral and medical expenses, and his loss of life.

"Samuel Scott Hicks' mother, father, daughter and siblings have suffered the loss of consortium, general services, companionship and society for the remainder of their lives," according to the lawsuit.

They also have suffered mental anguish and continue to do so, according to the suit.

State Desk on 09/05/2019

Upcoming Events