HPD officer charged with murder gets February 2021 trial date

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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. — A Madison County judge has set a February 2021 trial date for Huntsville Police Department Officer William Darby, who was indicted for murder following an on-duty shooting in April 2018.

The order from Madison County Circuit Judge Donna Pate sets the trial for Feb. 22, two days and a year after the original trial date. The case, like many in Alabama, has been delayed for months due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Darby is charged in the shooting death of Jeffrey Parker at Parker’s home on Deramus Avenue. Parker had called police, telling them he was suicidal. Darby was the third officer on the scene and after Parker refused to drop the gun he held to his head, Darby shot him.

A Huntsville Police Department shooting review board found Darby had acted within department policy, but a Madison County grand jury indicted him for murder in August 2018.

During a hearing in April 2019 Darby’s attorneys argued he should not be prosecuted for murder because he acted in self-defense. The court rejected that argument and the Alabama Supreme Court later upheld Judge Pate’s ruling.

The City of Huntsville has agreed to pay up to $125,000 for Darby’s defense.

Pate’s order says a pre-trial conference is set for Jan. 22.

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