An Alabama jury convicted Huntsville police Officer William Ben Darby of murder on Friday, for fatally shooting a suicidal man who was holding a gun to his own head three years ago.
What are the details?
On April 3, 2018, Huntsville resident Jeff Parker called 911 for help, telling dispatchers that he had a gun and was going to kill himself. When officers arrived at Parker’s home, they found him seated on a couch with the gun to his own head.
The first officer to arrive was Genisha Pegues, a senior officer to Darby, who testified against Darby, telling “the jury that she was de-escalating the situation before he got there,” AL.com reported. But Darby testified “that he shot parker in defense of himself and other officers because he feared Parker might shoot them.”
According to The Hill:
Body camera footage from Darby shows him running into the house with a shotgun and shooting Parker within 11 seconds of entering.
“Point your f—ing gun at him,” Darby yelled at Pegues before ordering Parker to drop his weapon, which was not aimed at the officers, the footage showed.
When Parker didn’t drop the gun, Darby shot him in the face.
Prosecutor Tim Gann told jurors in his closing argument, “An innocent man was murdered. He called for help and got Ben Darby.”
The jury’s conviction of Darby came as a shock to the Huntsville Police Department. The officer had been cleared of any wrongdoing by a police review panel, and he was able to remain an officer following the incident, Fox News reported. The city council even voted to contribute $125,000 in taxpayer money to assist with the officer’s defense.
HPD Chief Mark McMurray said in a statement after the guilty verdict:
“We are in the first stages of shock. While we thank the jury for their service in this difficult case, I do not believe Officer Darby is a murderer.”
“Officers are forced to make split-second decisions every day, and Officer Darby believed his life and the lives of other officers were in danger. Any situation that involves a loss of life is tragic. Our hearts go out to everyone involved.”
Darby’s defense attorney, Robert Tuten, has already vowed to appeal. Tuten said in a statement that he believes the conviction “won’t stand,” adding, “Everyone’s shocked by the jury’s verdict.”
Meanwhile, Darby is looking at a sentence of 10 years to life.
Source: The Blaze