City Council votes to pay legal expenses of Huntsville police officer indicted for murder

William Darby

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. – Huntsville City Council members made a financial decision to help defend a police officer indicted on murder charges at the meeting Thursday night.

The council voted 4-0 to use $75,000 towards the defense of officer William Darby. One council member abstained from the vote.

If the costs exceed that, they will have to come back before the council for review.

A Madison County grand jury indicted Darby, 25, in the killing of 49-year-old Jeffery Louis Parker at Parker’s home.  Parker had called 911 saying he was suicidal.

The Huntsville Police Department’s review of the case found that Darby acted within department policy in the shooting.

“Usually what you’re looking at is whether an officer reasonably feared for his life, before he was forced, to take, to use deadly physical force,” said Madison County District Attorney Rob Broussard. “And on these particular facts of the case, we had concern.”

Madison County Circuit Court Judge Donna Pate issued a gag order Monday morning in the case.

Pate’s order bars law enforcement employees and attorneys and their employees on both sides of the case from making any statements about the case in oral or written form that “they have reasons to believe will be disseminated to the public through written or electronic media or any kind.”

Darby was arrested after the indictment and is currently out of jail on bond. The trial is scheduled to begin Oct. 29.