Ex-officer sentenced to 25 years for killing suicidal man

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FILE – This Friday, May 7, 2021, booking photo provided by the Madison County, Ala., Sheriff’s Office, shows Huntsville police officer William Darby. Darby was sentenced to 25 years in prison Friday afternoon, Aug. 20, 2021, for the murder of a man he shot while on duty in 2018. (Madison County Sheriff’s Office via AP, File)

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (AP) — A former Alabama police officer has been sentenced to 25 years in prison for the 2018 shooting death of a suicidal man who was holding a gun to his own head.

The sentence was handed down Friday for former Huntsville police officer William “Ben” Darby.

Darby was convicted in May of killing Jeffrey Parker in 2018. Darby shot Parker while responding to a call after the man phoned 911 saying he was armed and planned to kill himself.

The guilty verdict was criticized by the mayor, but lauded by the victim’s family, who said they hope it will spur law enforcement to change how they approach mental health crises.

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