Louisiana deputy gets 40 years in prison for killing boy

Reuters News
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Posted: Mar 31, 2017 4:02 PM

By Bryn Stole

MARKSVILLE, LA. (Reuters) - A Louisiana deputy marshal was sentenced on Friday to 40 years in prison for the 2015 killing of a 6-year-old boy who died in a volley of gunfire after the officer chased his father's car.

Derrick Stafford, 33, was convicted by a jury last week of manslaughter and attempted manslaughter in the death of Jeremy Mardis and wounding of his father, Chris Few.

The incident was a "senseless tragedy," Judge William Bennett said on Friday at the Avoyelles Parish Courthouse here. "The shooting simply should never have occurred."

The boy's grandmother, Cathy Mardis, told the court Jeremy "didn't just die. He died a brutal, miserable, lonely death filled with pain."

Prosecutors had charged Stafford with second-degree murder in the boy's death, but a jury by a 10-2 vote convicted him of the lesser charge.

Bennett also sentenced Stafford to 15 years in prison for wounding Few, but ordered those sentences to run concurrently.

At least four bullets ripped through Jeremy when Stafford and another officer, Norris Greenhouse Jr., opened fire on Few's car at the end of a chase through the small central Louisiana town of Marksville on Nov. 3, 2015.

Body camera footage of the shooting captured by a third officer shows Few, 26, raising his hands through the window as Stafford and Greenhouse opened fire.

Greenhouse was also charged with second-degree murder and attempted second-degree murder and is scheduled to go on trial in June.

(Reporting by Bryn Stole; Editing by Daniel Wallis and Richard Chang)