Pleas awarded in murder case of former HPD officer William Darby

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) — An Alabama appeals court has granted closing arguments in the case of the murder of William “Ben” Darby, a former Huntsville Police Department officer.

According to an order from the Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals, Presiding Judge Mary Windom said both sides will be allowed 30 minutes of oral argument. Arguments, however, will only be permitted to focus on the issues listed below.

  1. Whether the circuit court’s disabling of video in the spectators’ room deprived Darby of his Sixth Amendment right to a public trial
  2. If the court wrongly denied Darby’s request for instructions on the “law applicable to a jury’s review of a shooting involving an officer in the context of an allegation of self-defense”

The court refused to allow discussion of whether the trial judge erred in denying Darby’s motion for a new trial.

Oral arguments are scheduled for November 10, 2022 at the Leslie S. Wright Fine Arts Center at Samford University, Birmingham.

Darby was convicted of murder in 2021 for the 2018 fatal on-duty shooting of 49-year-old Jeffrey Parker at Parker’s home in Huntsville. Parker had called 911 and told dispatchers he was suicidal. Darby, the third officer on the scene, had been in Parker’s house for less than 15 seconds when he issued several orders telling Parker to drop the gun he was holding on his own head. Parker refused and Darby killed him with a single shot from his shotgun.

Darby was sentenced to 25 years in prison.

During the trial, Darby’s defense attorney, Robert Tuten, argued that his client “acted in a manner he deemed appropriate” and called the incident a “police action” which kept the other officers out of danger. Darby filed his appeal of the conviction with the Alabama Court of Appeals.

Jail records show Darby remains incarcerated at the Limestone County Correctional Facility.


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