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Judge sentences former Alabama officer to 25 years for killing suicidal man

Judge sentences former Alabama officer to 25 years for killing suicidal man
William Darby was booked in Madison County jail Friday after receiving a 25-year prison sentence. Photo courtesy of Madison County Sheriff's Office

Aug. 21 (UPI) -- An Alabama judge has sentenced former police officer William Darby, who was convicted for murder of a suicidal man three years ago, to 25 years in prison.

Darby, 28, who resigned from the Huntsville, Ala. police force last month after being convicted in May of murdering Jeffrey Parker, 49, in April 2018, is not eligible for appeal bond and will begin immediately serving his sentence, AL.com and The New York Times reported.

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After his conviction for the murder, Darby remained on the police force on paid administrative leave and then accrued leave with pay before he resigned on July 23, city officials told the Times.

AL.com shared video footage of officers taking Darby from Circuit Judge Donna Pate's courtroom to Madison County jail after the sentencing hearing Friday.

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"At every turn, Mr. Darby refused to take any responsibility for what he did, and he would never admit that he did anything wrong," Timothy Gann, the chief deputy district attorney of Madison County told the Times. "There was no remorse for him about the killing ... There was no acknowledgement from him about the gravity of what he did. That was one of the most disturbing things about the case."

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City leaders said Darby was justified in using deadly force and a police review board cleared him of wrongdoing before he was indicted in August 2018 and convicted on May 7 for the fatal shooting, according to the Times.

"Mr. Darby's attorneys have publicly stated they are proceeding with an appeal, and the city believes it would be inappropriate to make any comments or statement that might interfere with that process," Huntsville city spokeswoman said in a statement to the Times.

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On April 3, 2018, Parker called 911 to report he was suicidal and he was holding a gun to his head when police arrived, prosecutors said.

The first officer on scene, Genisha Pegues, was trying to help Parker, according to her testimony at trial against her fellow officer.

Darby, a Huntsville police officer for about 18 months at the time, arrived later and fatally shot Parker 11 seconds after entering his home, according to Martin Weinberg, a lawyer who represents Parker's family and body-worn camera video.

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City officials spent $125,000 in public money on Darby's criminal defense at Huntsville Mayor Tommy Battle's urging, the Times and AL.com reported.

The Huntsville City Council approved a resolution in August 2018 saying that the council believed Darby was "acting within the line and scope of his duty and in his official capacity as a police officer," without seeing the footage.

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