(MOBILE, Ala.) - Families of both the murder victim and suspect in a gruesome killing are speaking out. Justin Hasty, 25, was found dead in a toolbox near a field in Grand Bay Tuesday. Hasty's friend, Brandon Estle, 26, is charged with murder.
"It was an act of self defense," Estle said before being taken to Metro Jail. "We were both at a bad place, and it was just bad."
What that "bad place" was, if it was an act committed in the haze of a drug or alcohol fueled rage, Estle wouldn't say.
"You say it was self-defense, what did Hasty do?" asked Local 15's Andrea Ramey.
"That's all I can say right now," replied Estle.
"I wish he hadn't said a thing," said attorney Jeff Deen.
Deen represents Estle. He says his client was in a state of shock Tuesday and comments he made shouldn't be used to explain Hasty's death.
"I know he was in a police car for a long time and he got out and people started throwing microphones in his face, I really don't know what he has said. So that's not anything we've said officially," said Deen.
Investigators say they found blood and other evidence of a struggle inside Hasty's home Monday. Tuesday, at Estle's parents home in Grand Bay, investigators found Hasty's body in a toolbox near a cotton field. The arrest complaint says Estle used a "blunt force instrument" to kill him.
"Kind of a state of confusion. We don't know all the details," said Estle's father, Doug.
Doug Estle says his heart goes out to the Hastys. As principal of Murphy High School, he got to know Hasty as both an educator and as a parent. His son was good friends with him.
"I mean loved him to death. He comes from a great family, his sister. We truly grieve. We grieve for the Hastys," said Doug Estle.
In a prepared statement read by a member of Hasty's family, they expressed appreciation for the outpouring of support from the community.
"Your thoughts and prayers are appreciated as we deal with the loss of our son and brother," said Mike Johnston.
Brandon Estle will appear for a bond hearing Thursday morning. He has been arrested twice for DUI. Deen says he is on unsupervised probation and that may be a factor in determining his bond.