Immunity rejected for officer after overturned conviction

Apr 30, 2023, 11:52 AM

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (AP) — An Alabama judge has rejected a former police officer’s claim that he should be immune under self-defense laws from a new trial on murder charges.

William “Ben” Darby, whose 2021 murder conviction was overturned in March by the Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals, had asked for a hearing to determine whether Alabama’s “stand your ground” law should shield the former Huntsville officer from a second trial.

Madison County Circuit Judge Alan Mann ruled against the motion Tuesday without elaborating.

Darby was on duty in 2018 when he shot and killed Jeffrey Parker, who was holding a gun to his own head. Parker had phoned 911 saying he was armed and planned to kill himself.

Darby was sentenced to 25 years in prison after a jury convicted him.

A different judge ruled Darby was not immune under self-defense rules before the original trial. But his lawyers said that ruling needs to be reconsidered after the appeals court ruled the trial judge should have given jurors different instructions on evaluating the reasonableness of Darby’s use of deadly force in that situation.

“If the trial court applied the wrong self-defense standard at trial, then the trial court presumably applied the wrong standard at the immunity hearing, too,” lawyers Robert Tuten and Nick Lough argued in their April 13 motion.

Darby’s defense attorneys have maintained the shooting was justified because he feared Parker would harm officers. Alabama’s self-defense law says officers are justified in using deadly physical force when they believe it necessary to defend themselves or others from what they reasonably believe “to be the use or imminent use of deadly physical force.”

Trial testimony indicated Darby shot Parker, who was sitting on a sofa holding a gun to his head, within seconds of entering the home. Another officer had been speaking with Parker trying to convince him not to kill himself, according to trial testimony. She and a third officer on the scene testified at trial that they did not perceive Parker to be an imminent threat, although he was holding a gun.

It would later be determined that Parker was actually holding a flare gun that had been painted black but there is no evidence indicating that any of the officers knew that, the appellate court wrote.

Video from Darby’s body camera showed the officer entered the home and told Parker to put the gun down before shooting.

Darby was released from prison April 13 and is scheduled to be retried Dec. 11.

United States News

Associated Press

Canadian auto workers to target General Motors after deal with Ford is ratified

DETROIT (AP) — Canadian auto workers say General Motors will be their next target after members ratified a new three-year labor contract with Ford. Unifor, which represents about 4,300 workers at three GM facilities in Canada, said Monday it reached a strong deal with Ford and now will try to negotiate a pattern agreement with […]

5 minutes ago

Associated Press

Firefighter’s 3-year-old son struck and killed as memorial walk for slain firefighters was to begin

WILMINGTON, Del. (AP) — The 3-year-old son of a firefighter was struck and killed in Delaware over the weekend shortly before a memorial walk was to begin to honor three firefighters killed in an a blaze seven years ago, authorities said. The Wilmington fire chief’s office said a group of off-duty Wilmington firefighters, family members […]

30 minutes ago

Associated Press

Editorial Roundup: United States

Excerpts from recent editorials in the United States and abroad: Sept. 23 The Washington Post on the U.S. feeding children in 2023 The children’s names rarely make the news. They are the millions of kids in Somalia, Libya, Mali, Haiti, Afghanistan, Yemen and other poor nations who don’t have enough to eat. They were born […]

31 minutes ago

Associated Press

US military captures key Islamic State militant during helicopter raid in Syria

WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. military said Monday it had captured an operator for the Islamic State extremist group during a helicopter raid in northern Syria. The operator, Abu Halil al-Fad’ani, “was assessed to have relationships throughout the ISIS network in the region,” U.S. Central Command said in a statement. His capture on Saturday increases […]

45 minutes ago

Associated Press

Manslaughter charges thrown out in Michigan prisoner’s death

MUNISING, Mich. (AP) — A judge dismissed charges Monday against six people in the death of a Michigan prisoner who lost 50 pounds over two weeks and died of dehydration while being restrained in 2019. There was evidence of a lack of proper care for Jonathan Lancaster but not enough to send two former prison […]

1 hour ago

Associated Press

Michigan woman will serve up to 5 years in prison for crash into icy pond that killed her 3 sons

HOLLAND TOWNSHIP, Mich. (AP) — A western Michigan woman was sentenced to up to five years in prison Monday for a crash in which her three young sons drowned after her SUV plunged into an ice-covered pond. Leticia Gonzales had pleaded no contest in August to operating while intoxicated causing serious injury and three misdemeanor […]

3 hours ago

Sponsored Articles



At Ability360, every day is Independence Day

With 100 different programs and services, more than 1,500 non-medically based home care staff, a world-renowned Sports & Fitness Center and over 15,000 people with disabilities served annually, across all ages and demographics, Ability360 is a nationwide leader in the disability community.



Here are the biggest tips to keep your AC bill low this summer

PHOENIX — In Arizona during the summer, having a working air conditioning unit is not just a pleasure, but a necessity. No one wants to walk from their sweltering car just to continue to be hot in their home. As the triple digits hit around the Valley and are here to stay, your AC bill […]


OCD & Anxiety Treatment Center

5 mental health myths you didn’t know were made up

Helping individuals understand mental health diagnoses like obsessive compulsive spectrum disorder or generalized anxiety disorder isn’t always an easy undertaking. After all, our society tends to spread misconceptions about mental health like wildfire. This is why being mindful about how we talk about mental health is so important. We can either perpetuate misinformation about already […]

Immunity rejected for officer after overturned conviction