Pre-trial hearing held for Huntsville police officer charged with murder

The trial is set to begin May 3. Prosecutors asked the judge to have officers wear plain clothing during the trial to avoid an impact on the jury.

Posted: Apr 6, 2021 5:40 PM
Updated: Apr 6, 2021 6:14 PM

The Huntsville police officer charged with murder had his pre-trial hearing Tuesday afternoon.

Officer William Darby is accused of shooting and killing Jeffrey Parker in April 2018 during a standoff where Parker threatened to kill himself. Police say Darby only shot after Parker refused to drop his weapon.

William Darby

Officer William Darby did not attend his pre-trial hearing, so only his attorney, Robert Tuten, appeared before the judge. They discussed several motions that were filed recently.

Both sides agreed with the motion to not use any evidence or the decision from the Huntsville Police Incident Review Board.
However, they disagreed with the other two motions.

Darby's attorney wants to show evidence of another officer's need for re-training following the deadly standoff in 2018. Tuten says she violated the protocols, putting herself in danger and causing his defendant to shoot. However, prosecutors say that evidence is irrelevant because Darby is the one on trial not the other officer.

The other motion they disagree with regards that same officer's testimony during the Stand Your Ground hearing last year. Officer Genisha Pegues testified she heard Parker say, "I don't want to hurt you."

The defense team wants that statement to be excluded from the trial, because it was not heard by any other officers or Darby. Tuten says the statement is irrelevant to Darby's decision to fire his weapon.

"You can't have your cake and eat it, too," the prosecution team said.

They argue the testimony is needed to understand Officer Pegues' actions, and say Darby didn't take enough time to listen to Parker before he shot his weapon. Both of those motions are now under consideration from the judge.

Darby's murder trial is set to begin May 3.

The judge says there will be a panel of 60 potential jurors. They will be screened and asked privately what they know about the case and their thoughts on mental health and suicide.

The prosecutors did bring up a concern regarding the police officers who want to show their support. They asked the judge to have those officers come in plain clothing to avoid a display that could impact the jury. The judge says she'll take it under consideration.

During the trial, everyone will be required to wear masks even if you are vaccinated. However, those who are speaking will be asked to remove their masks. Everyone will also be spaced out.

The judge says it will take around a week to present the case.

The city is paying more than $100,000 for Darby's defense.

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