HUNTSVILLE, Ala. — While the capital murder case of former Huntsville Police Officer David McCoy is just getting started, another high-profile murder case involving a former Huntsville Police Department officer is now in the appeals stage.
Lawyers for former Huntsville Police Department officer William ‘Ben’ Darby, who was convicted of murder last May, are preparing his appeal brief.
The Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals had set the filing deadline for Jan. 18, but the defense and the court clerk’s office said Tuesday that date was extended to Feb. 1.
In August, Darby was sentenced to 25 years in prison for the on-duty shooting death of Jeffery Parker at Parker’s home in April 2018.
Darby’s lawyers vowed to appeal on the day he was convicted. They have argued he acted in self-defense to protect himself and other officers in the encounter with Parker.
Parker had called 911 telling dispatchers he was suicidal.
Darby was the third officer to respond to the scene and he fatally shot Parker with a shotgun. The Huntsville Police Department had found Darby acted within department policy in the shooting.
But prosecutors said Darby shot Parker within 11 seconds of entering Parker’s home and that Parker posed no imminent threat.
The defense made a number of arguments. Darby testified another officer, Genisha Pegues was out of position and vulnerable before the armed Parker. Pegues testified Darby’s intervention escalated a calm situation.
HPD Captain DeWayne McCarver, now an HPD deputy chief, testified Parker refused multiple lawful commands from Darby to drop the gun, which led to Darby firing the fatal shot.
The defense also argued Darby was faced with a split-second decision and law enforcement training expert witnesses’ testimony which contended a suspect’s gun doesn’t have to be pointed at an officer before the use of force can be justified.
The City of Huntsville committed $125,000 to Darby’s murder trial defense. He remained a city employee until July, when he resigned, more than two months after his conviction.