MADISON COUNTY, Ala. (WHNT) — William “Ben” Darby, whose murder conviction was recently reversed by an appeals court, was released from prison and is out on bond, according to the attorney’s office representing him.
Darby was sentenced to 25 years in prison after being convicted in 2021 for the on-duty shooting of Jeffery Parker at Parker’s home in Huntsville in 2018. The Court of Criminal Appeals reversed that conviction in March.
On April 8, Darby’s defense team filed a new motion asking that his prior bond be reinstated. The motion said that before Darby’s previous trial, he was released on a $20,000 bond, adding that he had been incarcerated at Limestone Correctional Facility but would be released and returned to Madison County Jail to await a new trial.
The defense’s motion first argues for the bond reinstatement on the grounds that Darby should not be considered a flight risk by the court.
“The Defendant has significant ties and family living in the area,” the motion said. “The Defendant is not a flight risk nor is he a danger to the community. The Defendant would return to his place of residence should he post bond.”
Darby’s defense said he is entitled to a bond under both the U.S. Constitution and the Constitution of the State of Alabama, arguing the reinstatement would not create hardship for the district attorney’s office.
“The granting of this Motion would be in the best interest of the Defendant and in no way would be an undue hardship upon the District Attorney’s office or the State of Alabama,” the motion stated.
Darby’s $20,000 bond was ultimately reinstated by Madison County Judge Alan Mann Thursday afternoon.
On April 12, the Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals finalized the reversal of Darby’s conviction, meaning the case will now be sent back to the trial court.
On Thursday Darby’s defense also asked the court to schedule an immunity hearing in the case.
The motion cites the Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals as part of the grounds for the court allowing an immunity hearing.
“According to the Court’s Opinion, the Trial Court applied the wrong standard of self-defense,” the motion reads “Here, the Defendant was an “On Duty” Huntsville Police Officer and the shooting in question occurred “in the line of Duty.” The Trial Court applied the self-defense standard applicable to a citizen, not the standard applicable to a police officer.”
The motion said that before the first trial, Darby’s defense filed a motion for immunity under Alabama’s “stand your ground” statute but that motion was denied. The defense argues that this may also show the court used the standard in the case.
“If the Trial Court applied the wrong self-defense standard at trial, then the Trial Court
presumably applied the wrong standard at the Immunity Hearing too,” The motion said.
The defense had argued Darby’s shooting of Parker was due to Parker being armed and failing to heed Darby’s instructions to drop his weapon.
The appeals court said the failure to instruct the jury on the defense’s requested instructions was a reversible error.
The defense had also appealed on the grounds that Darby did not receive a fair trial because portions of the trial took place while a live feed camera, for spectators and media watching from different rooms under COVID-19 protocols, was turned off. The defense argued that denied Darby his constitutional right to a public trial. But, in Friday’s ruling, the appeals court disagreed.
Darby’s defense has also filed a motion asking for a status hearing to work out scheduling for the re-trial of the case.
News 19 will update this story as it continues to develop.