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Huntsville police officer found guilty of murder released on bond, awaiting sentencing

Huntsville Police Officer William Darby is now a convicted murderer.

A Madison County jury found Darby guilty for shooting and killing Jeffrey Parker during a suicide call in April 2018.

On Friday, May 7, 2021, a Madison County jury found Huntsville Police Officer William Darby guilty of murder.

Darby was booked into the Madison County Jail on a $100,000 bond Friday afternoon. He posted bond a couple of hours later.

The jury started over on their deliberations Friday morning because one of the jurors had a medical emergency. After getting a new alternate juror, the jury came up with their final guilty verdict in just over 2 hours.

That means the jury not only believed Officer William Darby intentionally killed Jeffrey Parker, but also believed that he did not do it out of self-defense.

The defense had argued Parker was an imminent threat because he refused to drop his weapon while there were officers in front of him without cover. However, prosecutors said Parker was never aggressive and never showed any kind of intent that he was going to take action.

It’s important to note that self-defense is only justified if there is an imminent threat.

Prosecutors say justice prevailed and what Darby did was wrong, regardless of being a police officer.

“Every life has value. It would be easy for us to look the other way. It would be politically expedient for me to avoid this issue, but we’re not going to do it. We’ll do whatever is right,” said Madison County District Attorney Robert Broussard.

Darby’s attorney is working on the appeal process. He released a statement saying “Officer Darby’s case is extremely important to all Alabama law enforcement. This case will clarify Alabama law regarding on-duty police shootings and will impact the way law enforcement protect Alabamians and perform their duties.”

The defense did try to use the policies and procedures of the Huntsville Police Department to justify Darby’s actions. The head of training at the department even testified saying Darby acted according to their policies and did nothing wrong.

Prosecutors say they don’t believe there’s a lack of training, but the interpretations of these policies and procedures may need to be looked at. They add that this case does not represent the entire department.

“We have as good as a law enforcement that any community would hope to have. Because this particular case involved law enforcement, it is absolutely no reflection on the quality of law enforcement we have here. We have a lot of men and women who have done wonderful work in this community for many years,” said Broussard.

Prosecutors praised Officer Genesha Peguese for her actions that day. She was one of the first officers at the scene who was actually talking to Parker before the shooting happened.

Prosecutors say it didn’t matter that Darby was an officer, justice is blind and the facts proved that.

A sentencing hearing is expected to take place in 6 weeks, but that may change since Darby said he plans to appeal the verdict.

Darby could face anywhere from 20 years to life in prison. That sentencing decision will be up to the judge.

Jeffrey Parker’s loved ones are still devastated by what happened in April 2018. They say Friday’s verdict brings them more closure than anything.

Parker’s brother and best friend says they wanted the justice they received, but at the same time, nothing will ever be able to bring Jeffrey Parker back. They say he had his demons and when he asked for help, it ended in a terrible situation.

We asked them if they had any words for Officer Darby, and this is what they said:

“I feel badly that he may be facing years in jail, but he made a decision in a split second and it was the wrong decision. He has to live up to that. This is life or death.”

The family did file a civil lawsuit against Darby more than a year ago, but it’s been on hold because of the criminal trial. The family’s attorney says they’re hoping to resume that lawsuit now that a verdict was made.

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