An Alabama police officer has been convicted of murder in the shooting death of a suicidal man who was aiming a gun at his own head.
Huntsville officer William “Ben” Darby was found guilty of murder during the second day of jury deliberations, The Associated Press reported.
He was accused of shooting and killing Jeffrey Parker in 2018.
Prosecutors said Darby killed Parker without cause, but the defense said Parker was a threat to not only Darby but other officers.
Darby shot Parker after the victim called 911 to tell them he was armed and planned on killing himself. A colleague of Darby, Genisha Pegues, testified in court that Parker was angry but was talking to her and didn’t pose a danger, even though he held a gun to his head. Pegues was the first officer on the scene on April 3, 2018, AL.com reported.
“My goal was to see where he was as far as his mental state,” Pegues testified, according to AL.com. “My goal was to keep him talking, talk about other solutions than taking his life.”
Darby was the third officer on the scene.
Body camera footage shown during the trial showed Darby shooting after Parker shrugged when he was told to put down his weapon, the AP reported.
Darby said he shot the man to protect himself and other officers, AL.com reported.
The Huntsville Police Department cleared Darby after a review of the case. He was also allowed to stay on the job. Taxpayers helped pay for his court defense, the AP reported.
Darby is in custody awaiting sentencing with bail set at $100,000. He faces 10 years to life behind bars, the AP reported.
Cox Media Group