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Huntsville attorney explains what's next in police officer's murder case

Darby's trial is currently scheduled to start Monday.

Posted: Apr 4, 2019 6:44 PM
Updated: Apr 4, 2019 6:48 PM

A Huntsville police officer charged with murder is likely headed for trial.

A judge denied immunity for Officer William Darby after listening to five hours of testimony on Wednesday. Officer Darby testified he shot a suicidal man inside his home last year, because he thought he and his fellow officers were in danger.

Huntsville police and the prosecutors are not allowed to talk about the case because of a gag order issued by the judge.

A defense attorney who's familiar with immunity hearings explained what can be expected in the coming days. Huntsville Attorney Bruce Gardner said he's not surprised to hear Judge Donna Pate already made her decision for Officer William Darby's immunity hearing.

"I have never successfully got one granted, but I know several people in Huntsville have," he said.

Gardner said Darby's attorney didn't convince the judge greater than 50% that Darby acted in self defense when he shot and killed Jeffery Parker on April 3, 2018.

"I'm sure she studied it and was prepared to rule," he said.

WAAY 31 asked Gardner what he thinks will happen next in the case.

"In the case, the officer has the right to seek appellate relief in the form of what's called mandamus," he said.

Simply put, Darby can appeal. Gardner said he expects for Darby's attorney to ask for the Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals in Montgomery to review the case in the coming days.

"I think it would be a very quick review of the record and what transpired yesterday," he said.

The court would then decide if the judge should have granted Darby immunity.

"A final ruling that he should have had immunity ends the case," he said.

Gardner said if Darby's case makes it to court, he is still allowed to claim he acted in self defense.

"He's still entitled at his trial to proceed every avenue of self defense, and while on his quest for immunity, he bears the burden of proof. At his trial, the self defense issue will have to be negated by the state," he said.

Darby's trial is currently scheduled to start Monday. Gardner said he expects for the judge to delay the trial if the immunity hearing is reviewed by the appeal court in Montgomery.

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