Day 4: Jury deliberations begin at 1 p.m. in Darby murder trial
HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WAFF) - Noon update: It’s day four of trial for Huntsville police officer, William Darby. Darby is accused of murdering a man in 2018 when he was called to the home of a man claiming suicidal thoughts.
Prosecuting attorneys presented their closing arguments first on Thursday. Attorney Tim Douthit said a person can use deadly physical force in self-defense or when defending someone else only if that person reasonably believes another person is using or about to use unlawful deadly physical force.
Douthit went on to say a threat in itself is not sufficient, and there must be some apparent demonstration to take a life. The attorney said in this case there must be reasonable evidence that Parker intended to hurt someone other than himself and that he feels Darby was the initial aggressor.
Next, Robert Tuten closed for the defense. He stated he feels Darby is not the initial aggressor and instead was protecting not only himself but his fellow officers. Tuten said other officers who were on the scene never told Parker to drop the gun.
“If an officer hesitates, he doesn’t have time to react to a gun pointed at him,” Tuten said. “If an officer hesitates when someone has a gun that officer dies.”
Tuten said for an officer they must react at a split second.
The prosecution finished up with Timothy Gann who said this case is sad for a few reasons including violation of public trust.
This is a breaking news update. Read information on the previous days from the trial below.
HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WAFF) - Closing arguments concluded Thursday morning in the William Darby murder trial. The Huntsville Police Officer is accused of murdering a suicidal man named Jeffrey Parker who had a gun pointed at his own head.
On Wednesday, the defense argued its case and brought up several witnesses including William Darby himself. Darby told members of the jury why he said he shot Parker.
He said on the stand Thursday that he was following his training, and Parker did not listen to his orders to drop the gun seven times. Darby testified that he was not only protecting himself but his fellow officers.
Huntsville Police Captain Dewayne McCarver also testified. Captain McCarver said Darby followed all department protocols and training during this encounter.
The state argued that Darby never asked his senior officers on the scene what was going on before then escalating the situation. The defense also brought in an action-reaction gun expert, and an assistant police chief from another city to testify. Dr. Pete Blaire, the Executive Director of the Advanced Law Enforcement Rapid Response Training, took the stand as an expert witness.
Dr. Blaire testified that he studied action-reaction, monitoring how fast someone has to react in a firearm scenario. He said if a police officer has a weapon sighted on a suspect holding a firearm, the suspect could still fire first before the officer. Assistant Police Chief Ron Kiker for the Snead Police Department also testified on action-reaction and how this comes to play with training officers. The Assistant Chief said they teach in most cases action is faster than a reaction.
“The weapon trained on this person is the easy answer. If an officer is face to face with a gun they should have their gun out. Officers are taught to take cover or concealment if possible,” Assistant Chief Kiker said. “It takes a quarter of a second for the subject to shoot and it takes the officer about half a second,” Assistant Chief Kiker said. “If the officer waits until the bad guy moves the bad guy can get two rounds fired sometimes.”
During cross-examination, Dr. Blaire and the Assistant Chief were asked if this meant an officer should always shoot a suspect if they have a gun. Both said no.
Attorney Mark McDaniel who is not working on this case said someone can only use physically deadly force if it meets the legal standard.
“A person can use deadly physical force if he believes another person is using or about to use unlawful deadly physical force against him or another person,” McDaniel said.
See previous reports from this trial:
- Day 1 - Jury Selection
- Day 2 - Morning Report - Opening Statements
- Day 2 - Evening Report - Body camera footage shown in court
- Day 3 - Morning Report - Defense calls experts to the stand
- Day 3 - Evening Report - William Darby testifies
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