Jeffery Parker's family speaks out on Darby's sentencing

Darby was sentenced to 25 years in prison.

Posted: Aug 21, 2021 4:17 PM
Updated: Aug 21, 2021 4:41 PM

A day that some say they hope will go down in history.

Friday, a judge sentenced former Huntsville police officer, William Darby to 25 years in prison.

This comes after 3 years of court proceedings and him being found guilty of murder in killing Jeffery Parker in 2018.

Now, we're hearing from Parker's family and attorney on the final outcome.

"Officer Pegues who came in tried to take care of the situation. My brother would be alive today, I certainly believe that, if Pegues had stayed there and Darby never showed up," said Bill Parker.

Bill Parker is Jeffery's brother.

WAAY-31 spoke with him and Parker's attorney to get their thoughts on the sentencing.

In the Madison County Courthouse, Darby had his options laid out for him: 20 years to life in prison.

After hearing from several witnesses, some asking for leniency and others demanding a harsher sentence, the judge sentenced him to 25 years, along with paying various fees.

Parker's attorney and family say it's definitely a step in the right direction, but it's hard to celebrate such a somber day.

"Sends a strong message that we want to send in other instances and cases that you're not going to get off just because you're an officer," said Martin Weinburg.

Martin Weinburg is the Parker family's attorney and he told us Friday's sentencing should have come a long time ago.

In 2018, officers were called to the scene of a home where Jeffery Parker, who family says was experiencing a mental health crisis.

He had a gun and wanted to harm himself.

Two other officers on scene were calming him down when Darby arrived, stepped in, and shot him.

"He must have been sitting there going, okay things are good, okay I'm good and 11 seconds later his face is blown off," said Bill Parks.

The Huntsville Police Department and Mayor's office stood behind Darby, saying the shooting was justified.

Even after his conviction, the city continued to pay Darby and paid his legal fees.

He ultimately resigned less than a month ago.

"Huntsville, think, what in the world is going on for them to completely defend this guy, to sweep it under the rug as if nothing happened, and it's just a shame," said Parks.

In the courtroom, Darby's defense attorney argued he was just doing his job that day.

Witnesses testified to his character, saying he's an outstanding person all around and Darby, himself, even taking the stand & saying he didn't want to kill Parker.

Darby, even, pleading for leniency from the judge.

But, the state ultimately believed otherwise and now, Parker is hoping this will jump-start some change in the 'Rocket City'.

"This is a sad day for Huntsville, and I sincerely hope that this wonderful city, that I grew up in most of my life, takes appropriate action," said Parker.

Parker's attorney told WAAY-31 they plan to move forward with their civil lawsuit against the city of Huntsville and are looking to bring reform to the police department.

They also want the full body camera footage released so the public can see what happened.

For now, Darby is being held with no bond and his attorney says they'll appeal this case immediately.

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