Murder trial of Huntsville Police Department officer appears likely to be moved back from Oct. 29

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. -- The Oct. 29 trial date for a Huntsville police officer charged with murder is likely to be changed, court records show.

Officer William Darby’s trial is set to begin at the end of this month, but that date has been removed from the trial docket.

Things were scheduled to move quickly for Darby. He was indicted in early August and was heading to trial, basically three months later.

Darby is charged with murder in the April on-duty killing of Jeffery Parker at Parker’s home on Deramus Avenue. Darby was one of the officers who responded to a 911 call made by Parker, who told dispatchers he was suicidal.

But, Darby’s trial date is no longer in court records.

Attorneys for the prosecution and defense are under a gag order but indicated Friday they expect Madison County Circuit Judge Donna Pate to issue a new order moving the case to a later date.

How much later is unclear.

Pate is scheduled to preside over the capital murder trial of Stephen Marc Stone in late January. Stone is charged with killing his wife and 7-year-old son in February 2013 in south Huntsville. It’s a death penalty case.

The Darby case has led the City of Huntsville to agree to pay up to $75,000 for his defense. In urging that support, Mayor Tommy Battle has said the Huntsville Police Department’s shooting review board found that Darby’s actions during the fatal encounter were within department policy.

The Madison County District Attorney’s office has said it has concerns over whether the shooting was justified.

Those arguments, and Darby, it appears, will have to wait, for their day in court.