Judge: No delay for civil trial against Huntsville Police Officer convicted of murder

William Darby remains an employee of the city.

Posted: Jun 21, 2021 3:31 PM
Updated: Jun 22, 2021 12:36 PM

A judge has ruled that the civil trial against Huntsville Police Officer William Darby and the city of Huntsville will move forward.

The decision came during a hearing Monday.

Darby was not present at that hearing. 

The civil trial is expected to begin in the next year or 18 months. 

Earlier this year, Darby was convicted of murder in the April 2018 death of Jeffrey Parker.

Darby and the city of Huntsville are now facing a wrongful death lawsuit.

"It's been over 3 years. We are just going to start the process," the family's attorney Martin Weingberg said. "The family is ready for this to move forward."

The civil trial had been on hold for years because Darby’s criminal trial took precedence. 

"The bulk of that is over. What's left is sentencing and the appeals," the family's attorney Rip Andrews said. 

Darby and the city wanted to postpone the civil case until after he is sentenced in August. Their attorneys said they had concerns about the public statements that would be made in the trial because a gag order is still in effect for the criminal trial.

"We understand the defendant has his rights. We don't want to interfere with any of the criminal proceedings. We're not going to do that," Weinberg said. 

Federal judge Liles Burke took a moment to call Madison County Judge Donna Pate who issued the order. She said her gag order has no effect on the civil case. So, Liles decided the civil case would go through, but there would be no depositions until sentencing in the criminal case. Something attorneys on both sides said they had no problems with.

"By the time we take testimonies in the case, the sentencing should be complete," Andrews said.

Meanwhile, the Parker family told attorneys they're just glad things are starting to move forward.

"These things will take a while, but they feel like the wheels of justice are moving," Weinberg said. 

Darby's attorneys and the city's attorneys both refused to give a comment.

Darby remains an employee of the city. He is on paid accrued leave.

Stay with WAAY 31 for updates.

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