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Trial for Huntsville police officer charged with murder postponed due to court closing

Most court proceedings for January and February have been suspended due to COVID concerns, including the trial of Officer William Darby.
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MADISON COUNTY, ALABAMA, Ala. — Most court proceedings have been suspended for January and February due to COVID concerns.

The order, issued by Presiding Circuit Judge Ruth Ann Hall, puts on hold jury trials and district, traffic, misdemeanor, and small claims court dockets.

One of the high-profile cases affected is that of Huntsville Police officer William Darby, charged with murder in the 2018 shooting of Jeffrey Parker. Darby's trial, which was set for February 22, will be rescheduled, along with the pre-trial conference.

Darby is charged in the shooting death of 49-year-old Jeffrey Parker, who had called police, telling them he was suicidal. Darby was the third officer on the scene and according to police, after Parker refused to drop the gun he held to his head, Darby shot him. 

Darby requested immunity in the case, which was rejected by the Alabama State Supreme Court.

RELATED: Huntsville police officer charged with murder will not receive immunity

In his immunity hearing, the public got its first look at the police body camera footage from the incident. Darby told the judge he was concerned for another officer’s safety when they were inside Parker’s home. The prosecution says he rushed into the situation and was on the scene for 11 seconds before he fired.     

The body camera footage shows Darby running into Parker’s home, there’s yelling to drop a weapon, and Darby’s gun is fired.                      

Several other people, including the senior officers who were with Darby at the scene, testified about the events that took place. The City of Huntsville is paying up to $125,000 for his defense.

The case became controversial when the City of Huntsville declined to produce to prosecutors the findings of the internal investigation that initially cleared Darby. 

RELATED: Mental Health Monday: A look inside Huntsville Police mental illness training

Officer William Darby trial rescheduled:

Order suspending Madison County court activities: