BALDWIN COUNTY, AL – Three teenagers in Alabama have been formally indicted on murder charges after one of their accomplices was accidentally shot and killed.
Three men, William “Nick” Hearn, Lonnie Davison, and Larry Dean Duncan, Jr., were camping with their families on Gravine Island when they heard someone breaking into nearby fishing cabins in the early morning hours on April 15. The men climbed into a boat and went to investigate, encountering Scott Byrd and Dylan Tyree, both 18, burglarizing a home owned by a man the men knew. The two teens were part of a foursome out burglarizing summer cabins.
When the two teens took off running, Hearn fired a warning shot into the ground away from the teens, as did Duncan. One of these shots accidentally struck 17-year-old Summer Moody in the head as she hid behind a bush with 18-year-old Daniel Parnell. Once the men realized Summer had been shot, the men called 911, administered aid, and rushed her to a nearby landing. Summer would live for 10 days before dying from her injuries.
Charges were not filed against Hearn and Duncan as police decided that the men did not intend to kill anyone and had no criminal intent. Baldwin County District Attorney Hallie Dixon said investigators did not let emotion or public opinion effect their investigation or their decision to not charge the men, but that the evidence did not show the men committed any crime, including negligence.
As for the three teens who had been with Summer that night as they burglarizing homes, they were not so lucky. Byrd, Tyree, and Parnell had initially been charged with burglary, but because they were committing a felony that lead to someone’s death, they have now been charged with murder. Baldwin County Sheriff Huey “Hoss” Mack said that during their investigation, they recovered a .22 rifle and a hunting knife the teens had been armed with, along with a hoodie containing a pocket full of shells. He also said the teens were armed with a .32 handgun that has never been recovered.
The attorney representing Moody’s family does not understand why the teens have been charged with Summer’s murder. “Charging the teens with murder is inconsistent in that the Baldwin County District Attorney has come out and had a press conference and announced to the press and the news that this was a ‘horrible, tragic, accident,’” said Robert Stankoski. “There is no crime of felony ‘horrible tragic accident.’ How can you find that the shooter in this case committed an accidental shooting and then charge the boys with murder? It’s completely inconsistent.”
But it really isn’t, as most readers of DD are aware after the numerous stories we’ve posted concerning people shot and killed during armed robberies, leading to surviving accomplices getting slapped with a murder charge. Dixon countered Stankoski by reminding him that the shooting was prompted by the teens committing a crime and that felony murder holds people accountable if they are participating in “inherently dangerous felonies” and someone is killed in the process. “These young men participated not just in a burglary but were armed,” Dixon said.
All three teens are currently in jail for burglary and murder. Byrd and Parnell’s bail has been set at $25,000 while Tyree, who got an additional assault charge, had his bail set at $450,000. Meanwhile, Moody’s family are pursuing a wrongful death suit against Hearn, Duncan, Davison, the Alabama Marine Police, and the owner of the camp near where the shooting took place.
Stankoski said the lawsuit names the Alabama Marine Police as defendants because officers could not reach the island to answer burglary calls in a timely manner and told residents they should take matters into their own hands. The owner of the property where the shooting took place is named because an agreement had supposedly been made between the four men to confront anyone in the area who were suspected of burglary or looked suspicious.Tags: Alabama, Burglary, Crime, Daniel Parnell, Dylan Tyree, Murder, Scott Byrd, Shooting, Summer Moody