Jury in murder trial for Huntsville police officer adjourns for Thursday, will continue deliberations Friday morning

Stay with WAAY 31 for updates.

Posted: May 6, 2021 12:03 PM
Updated: May 6, 2021 5:33 PM

UPDATE: The jury in the trial of Huntsville Police Officer William Darby adjourned for Thursday night around 6:30 p.m.

Deliberations will resume Friday morning.

Huntsville Police Officer William Darby testifying during his murder trial

From earlier:

The defense and prosecution in the murder trial of William Darby have completed their closing arguments and the judge has given the jury its instructions.

Shortly before noon Thursday, the judge dismissed for lunch and said jury deliberations should begin in an hour.

WAAY 31 has reporters in the courtroom and at the courthouse and will bring you a verdict as soon as the jury returns one.

Get updates tonight on WAAY 31 News at 4, 5 and 6 p.m.

From earlier:

Huntsville Police Officer William Darby took the stand in his own defense at his murder trial Wednesday. 

This is the third day of his murder trial in the death of Jeffrey Parker. The prosecution rested its case Tuesday (see that HERE).

Darby is charged with shooting a suicidal Parker in 2018 while Parker held a gun to his own head.

On the stand Wednesday, Darby testified that he feared he was going to see "one of my officers" get hurt. The defense claimed Parker was an imminent threat to both Darby and the other officers on scene. 

A total of nine witnesses were called by the defense. 

Before Darby took the stand, the defense brought in several expert witnesses to discuss action reaction. Essentially, if a person has a gun, no matter where it is pointed, there's a chance that person can shoot you before you have a chance to react.

The defense also brought the head of training for the Huntsville Police Department. He said based on Darby's training, Darby did exactly what he was supposed to do, because Parker having a gun put all the officers in imminent threat.

When Darby took the stand, he claimed he had to take action. He said Officer Genisha Pegues, the first officer to arrive at the scene that day, was not thinking "correctly." 

Pegues had more than 10 years combined experience policing, according to prosecutors. At the time of the shooting, Darby had 18 months. 

The defense had Darby walk them through body camera footage showing the moment leading up to the fatal shooting. The entire event happened within seconds. Only 25 seconds after telling Pegues to point the gun at Parker, Darby pulled the trigger.

Darby explained he was trying to come up with a plan as quickly as possible. He said he and the other officers were in a fatal funnel, since Parker had a gun.

Once the prosecution started cross-examining, they questioned whether or not having a gun to your head is illegal. Darby answered it was not. 

The prosecutor then asked, "So, he had not done anything worthy of being arrested, but he had done something worthy of death?"

Darby answered, “In this case, he had done things worthy of deadly force taken on him.”

Prosecutors argue the threat was not imminent since the danger was not immediate, certain or unequivocal. 

Closing arguments from both sides will be made Thursday, followed by jury deliberation.

WAAY 31 Reporter Alex Torres-Perez was inside the courtroom Wednesday and tweeting Darby’s testimony. Click below to follow her on Twitter or add her by clicking HERE.

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