Huntsville police officer charged with murder appeals judge’s immunity ruling

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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. – Huntsville Police Officer William Darby on Monday appealed a Madison County judge’s ruling that he was not immune to prosecution, on self-defense grounds,  for a man’s shooting death last year.

Darby’s attorney filed the appeal Monday with the Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals.

Madison County Circuit Court Judge Donna Pate ruled that Darby was not immune from prosecution for shooting and killing Jeffrey Parker in April 2018. Darby said he had no choice but to shoot Parker, but a grand jury indicted him on a murder charge.

Parker was holding a gun to his head when police arrived, according to testimony during Darby’s immunity hearing. Darby said in the hearing that another officer in the room with Parker put herself in harm’s way by not following proper procedure, forcing Darby to enter the room and shoot Parker.

In his immunity hearing, Darby maintained the shooting was in self-defense and the defense of the other officers who responded to the call.

Darby’s appeal maintains that evidence and testimony presented in the immunity hearing show he acted reasonably and in self-defense.

Prosecutors have argued there was no imminent danger in the encounter. They said the evidence shows Parker never threatened officers, or acted aggressively.  During the encounter, Darby advanced on Parker ordering him to drop his gun, Parker declined, never moving the gun from his own head before Darby fired.

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