A Louisiana cop who shot and killed a 6-year-old autistic boy and wounded his father was sentenced to 40 years in prison for the crime on Friday.
“He shot 14 times while my hands were in the air,” said Chris Few, the boy’s father, who testified in court about the incident.
“He just kept shooting.”
Marksville city marshal Derrick Walker Stafford had previously been indicted in two separate cases on charges of aggravated rape 2004 and 2011. The victim involved in the 2004 allegations was 15-years-old.
Rapides Parish Assistant District Attorney Monique Metoyer dismissed the charges without explanation in 2012.
In addition to previous sexual assault charges, Stafford had six civil rights lawsuits pending against him from his time working for various other law enforcement agencies when he fired 14 shots into Chris Few’s Kia SUV, hitting and killing his son, 6-year-old Jeremy Mardis.
Now, Stafford’s relatives claim the jury’s guilty verdict is nothing more than a modern day “lynching.”
“If it had been two white men who killed that little baby, it would’ve been justifiable homicide. If it had been a black baby, it would’ve been justifiable homicide,” Bertha Andrews, Stafford’s aunt, told a crowd outside the courthouse on Friday before she took to calling out the media, who she blames for “demonizing” her nephew.
Stafford stated at the time he fired over a dozen shots into Few’s car while Few held up his hands outside of his vehicle because he was only trying to protect his partner, Norris Greenhouse Jr., who had fallen on the ground before Few tried to run him over, using his car as a weapon.
Stafford’s own body cam footage left no questions.
That was a lie.
Stafford’s body cam footage shows the car not only never moved but was parked at an angle where it could not have backed into either of the cops even if it tried.
It shows Few inside the car with his hands out the window parked perpendicular to Stafford and Greenhouse Jr. when they roll up in their police cruisers, hop out and blast several rounds into Few’s vehicle, which not only killed his son, but left Few in a coma for a week.
Few had no idea his son had been killed until he came out of his coma.
Stafford and Greenhouse both claimed they had no idea Jeremy was sitting beside his father in the passenger seat.
“I believed Few was using his vehicle as a dangerous weapon to hurt one of us.” he explained to a jury last Friday.
“As I shot, I back-pedaled for safety. I never saw his hands go up. I was defending fellow officers.”
But that’s hard to believe given police determined his partner, Greenhouse, was having an affair with the Jeremy’s mother, Megan Dixon, at the time.
“We believe that they had some type of relationship where they met each other, knew each other,” Michael Edmonson, Louisiana State Police Superintendent Col., said.
Shortly before the chase occurred, Few had been in an argument with Dixon, attempting to convince her to come home with him.
Marksville residents questioned why Greenhouse and Stafford, two city marshals, were pursuing Few’s vehicle in the first place given that city marshals typically spend their days serving warrants and serving other court documents.
“It’s wrong what they are doing out here. They all about protecting and serve; they’re not protecting and serving nothing,” Marksville resident Ricky Jenkins said.
Judge William Bennett, who presided over the trial, called Stafford a “good man,” but added the shooting was a “senseless tragedy.”
“The shooting simply should never have happened,” Bennett said before imposing the maximum sentence for manslaughter on the now-former cop.
Mardis’ relatives say Stafford’s conviction doesn’t equate to justice for Jeremy Mardis just yet.
“Today my nephew only got half the justice he deserves,” Candice Few told Judge Bennett. “Come June, he will finally get the rest.”
During his sentencing hearing on Friday, Stafford reportedly apologized to Few, according to the Advocate.
“I have kids, man,” he said, just before being taken away by guards.
That would have been all the reason he needed not to fire his weapon into the vehicle of a man holding his hands up.
The jury deliberated for a mere three hours after hearing testimony from over 50 witnesses and experts before returning a guilty verdict on March 24.
Norris Greenhouse Jr. is set for trial on murder charges this June.
Video of the shooting is included below Judge Bennett’s reasoning for imposing the maximum sentence.