Day 2: murder trial continues for Huntsville Police Officer William Darby

Updated: May. 4, 2021 at 6:39 AM CDT
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UPDATE (Noon) - Opening statements wrapped up in the William Darby trial Tuesday morning.

Assistant District Attorney Tim Douthit gave the opening statement for the State. He described the 2018 scene as two officers pulled up after responding to a call of a suicidal man named Jeffrey Parker needing immediate help. Once they got on the scene, Douthit said officers found Parker with a gun to his head.

The DA said Huntsville Police Officer Genisha Pegues was one of those two officers who responded initially. She asked the man why he wanted to kill himself and tried to help him, according to Douthit.

Douthit said things took a turn once Officer William Darby arrived at the scene.

“You can’t call it self-defense if you are the initial aggressor,” Douthit said.

Robert Tuten opened for the defense. Tuten said any death is tragic, but when dealing with this case it’s a matter of justifiable homicide. Tuten said Darby is not a murderer.

Tuten said Officer Pegues was not following protocol and put herself in harm’s way as Darby arrived at the call. She got too close to Parker with a gun, according to Tuten. Tuten said this put her in harm’s way without any protection and violates training. Tuten also said Darby was the only officer that asked Parker to put his gun down, and he did so seven times before shooting.

After opening statements, the first few witnesses are called. One of the witnesses is Former Officer Genisha Pegues who said she just ended her employment with the Huntsville Police Department.

Jurors also got to see several pieces of evidence. The 911 call where Parker told authorities he was going to commit suicide was played as well as three body cam videos of the moment where officers responded and Parker’s life ended. This video included Darby’s body camera footage.

WAFF will continue to provide more updates throughout the week as the Darby trial continues.


HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WAFF) - A jury has been selected for the murder trial of Huntsville Police Officer William Darby.

Darby is accused of killing Jeffrey Parker, a man police report was suicidal and refused to drop a gun after he called police.

Opening statements are expected to happen Tuesday morning. The jury pool consisted of 60 potential jurors. Those in the pool had to answer several questions coming from the judge and attorneys.

One of these questions potential jurors were asked was if they knew anyone in law enforcement, and if so can you be impartial? Potential jurors were also asked if they felt law enforcement should be held to a different standard for deadly force than someone out in the community. Another question attorneys asked was if anyone had heard anything of this case. Roughly one-third of the potential jurors said they had.

Following voir dire questioning, the case has 12 jurors and two alternates.

According to Huntsville attorney Mark McDaniel, who is not on this case, it is common for potential jurors to have heard something about the incident in a high-profile case like this. In fact, McDaniel said he thought more people would have said they did.

Our crews asked McDaniel why he felt the trial was happening here after so much media coverage on the case. McDaniel said filing for a motion for a change of venue usually comes from the defense.

“They didn’t file a motion for a change of venue because they feel like they can get a fair and impartial trial in this jurisdiction in this trial,” McDaniel said. That’s the whole issue the judge will ask the jury is can you make the judgment in this case with what you’ve heard for the witness stand and not what you’ve seen read or heard about this case. Obviously, the defendant feels he can get a fair trial here otherwise they would have filed for a change of venue.”

We will keep you updated as the trial continues.

See coverage from previous days of the Darby trial:

Day 1 - Monday, May 3

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