HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (AP) — Jurors began a second day of deliberations Friday in the trial of an Alabama police officer charged with murder after he shot a suicidal man who was holding a gun to his own head.
The panel deliberated Thursday afternoon without reaching a verdict in the trial of Huntsville police officer William “Ben” Darby, who was indicted in the killing of Jeffrey Parker in 2018. Talks started over after one member had to be replaced by an alternate because of a medical issue, news outlets reported.
While prosecutors contend Darby, 27, killed Parker without cause, the defense argues the shooting was justified because Parker posed a threat to Darby and other officers.
A city police review cleared Darby of wrongdoing and officials allowed him to remain an officer, with Huntsville taxpayers helping fund his defense against charges brought by a Madison County grand jury.
Darby shot Parker while responding to a call after the 43-year-old man phoned 911 saying he was armed and planned to kill himself. A one-time colleague, Genisha Pegues, testified that while Parker was upset, he was talking to her and posed no immediate threat despite a gun held to his head.
“An innocent man was murdered,” prosecutor Tim Gann told jurors in closing arguments. “He called for help and he got Ben Darby.”
Defense attorney Robert Tuten called Darby "an honorable person doing an honorable profession,” al.com reported.
Jurors saw video of the shooting taken from police body cameras, and Darby testified that he feared seeing “one of my officers” get hurt and fired after Parker only shrugged when ordered to put down the gun he was holding to his own head.