After a 6-year-old boy died in a hail of bullets fired by two deputy city marshals, prosecutors in central Louisiana decided to review a dormant rape case against one of the men but have elected not to resurrect it.
In a letter Friday to The Associated Press, Rapides Parish District Attorney Phillip Terrell said that he and three assistants reviewed the file for Derrick Stafford's 2011 abandoned rape case after the Nov. 3 shooting in neighboring Avoyelles Parish.
"All of us concur that the decision to dismiss those charges was appropriate," wrote Terrell, who was elected in 2014.
Stafford, a Markville police lieutenant, was moonlighting as a deputy city marshal when he and another deputy, Norris Greenhouse Jr., opened fire on a car, killing Jeremy Mardis and critically wounding his father, Chris Few.
Stafford, 32, and Greenhouse, 24, were charged last month with second-degree murder and attempted second-degree murder. A State Police report says video from a police body camera shows Few's empty hands were raised and visible inside the vehicle when gunfire erupted after a pursuit.
In October 2011, Stafford was suspended without pay after his indictment on charges he raped an 18-year-old woman in February 2011 and raped a 16-year-old girl in September 2004. The Marksville Police Department reinstated Stafford less than two weeks after prosecutors dismissed the rape charges in May 2012.
It's unclear why the Rapides Parish district attorney's office elected to drop Stafford's rape case. Assistant District Attorney Monique Metoyer didn't explain the decision to a judge during the hearing where she dismissed the charges, according to a transcript.
Metoyer said during an interview last month that she couldn't recall "all the specifics" of the case. But she said it wasn't a lack of victim cooperation that led to the dismissal of the charges.
"If I dismissed it, there had to be a legitimate and serious reason," Metoyer said.
A police report says Stafford denied raping the 16-year-old girl after her mother reported the allegation to police in 2004. A report on the 2011 case says a 53-year-old woman called police and said her 18-year-old daughter told her that Stafford had raped her.
Documents provided by the Marksville Police Department in response to a public records request don't indicate whether the city or its police force conducted their own internal review of the rape allegations before Stafford's reinstatement. The records show city officials exchanged emails about the back pay owed to Stafford for hours he missed during his seven-month suspension.