Jury selected for trial of Huntsville officer accused of murder

Updated: May. 3, 2021 at 6:56 PM CDT
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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WAFF) - A jury has officially been selected for the trial of Huntsville Police officer William Darby.

Monday afternoon, 12 jurors and two alternates were selected and asked to return Tuesday ready to hear opening arguments.

Darby is accused of shooting and killing 49-year Jeffrey Parker. In April 2018, Parker called 911 saying he was suicidal. The officers also said Parker had a gun to his head and refused to drop it.

WAFF’s Kate Smith and Tiffany Thompson spent day one in the courtroom.

Prosecutors and the defense questioned a 60-person pool of jurors to find the best 12 men and women who will determine Darby’s fate.

One of the big concerns for the judge and attorneys was pre-media exposure to the case. Roughly one-third of the jurors said they had some knowledge of the case. Another hot topic for attorneys was if the jurors had any police or military training, or any history with suicide or depression.

Darby was the third officer to respond to Parker’s home in 2018. The defense argued Darby ordered Parker to drop his weapon multiple times. An internal investigation within the Huntsville Police Department review board cleared Darby of any wrongdoing.

However, in 2018 a Madison County grand jury indicted Darby on murder. Today, Darby is still employed with the Huntsville Police Department. But instead of his position as a patrol officer, he is now doing administrative work.

The city will cover the cost of up to $125,000 in Darby’s legal fees.

Opening statements begin Tuesday. WAFF 48 will be in the courtroom all week long to keep you updated.

See WAFF’s Tiffany Thompson’s earlier coverage on this story below.

The jury selection process started Monday morning for a Huntsville Police Officer charged in a 2018 fatal shooting. The shooting involved a man claiming he was suicidal according to police.

This process started on May 3 after multiple delays. Huntsville Police Officer William Darby was indicted on murder for the death of Jeffrey Parker after a shooting back in 2018. In August of that year, police said Darby allegedly shot and killed Parker after responding to the suicide call at Parker’s home. The officers also said Parker had a gun and refused to drop it.

Darby was indicted by a Grand Jury after an internal investigation cleared him of wrongdoing. Last month the judge decided not to allow the jury to hear the fact that the Huntsville Police Department internal review board cleared Darby. The City of Huntsville is paying up to a certain amount for his defense.

WAFF’s Tiffany Thompson was at the courthouse as jury selection was happening on Monday. Potential jury members were asked a number of questions during voir dire. Some of the questions included:

  • Do you have anyone close to you in law enforcement? How are you related to this person?
  • Could you remain unbiased during this trial?
  • Have you heard of the case or the defendant prior to jury selection?

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