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Friday, June 21, 2024 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

Officers Indicted in Child’s Shooting Death

BATON ROUGE (CN) - Two deputy city marshals have been indicted by a Louisiana grand jury on murder charges stemming from the shooting death of a 6-year-old autistic boy and the critical wounding his father.

The shootings happened last month following the officers' pursuit of the car the boy and his father were in.

Jeremy Mardis was shot to death, and his father, Christopher Few, was seriously wounded after marshals Norris Joseph Greenhouse Jr., 23, and Derrick Walker Stafford, 32, opened fire on their car.

The officers initially told investigators Few had fled from them, and later shot from his car, to avoid being served with a warrant. But later investigations found no gun and no warrant for Few's arrest.

Greenhouse and Stafford are charged with second-degree murder for Mardis's death, and attempted second-degree murder for the shots that wounded Few.

Following the reading of the indictment last week, a gag order on the case was lifted by presiding state District Judge William Bennett, and Louisiana Attorney General James "Buddy" Caldwell's office released a court filing that provides investigators' first description of a video filmed during the shooting by the body camera on Marksville Police Sgt. Kenneth Parnell III.

In the report, Parnell who had arrived to the scene and saw the shooting said he did not fire his gun because he "didn't fear for his life."

The document additionally says that Parnell's body camera shows that Few's empty hands are raised and visible inside the car when "gunfire becomes audible." Few was critically wounded by two bullets fired, and his son, Mardis, took five bullets and was pronounced dead at the scene.

Stafford, a full-time police lieutenant, and Greenhouse, a former police officer, were moonlighting as deputy city marshals in Marksville, La. on Nov. 3 when they fired at least 18 rounds at Few's car, police said.

The police report did not address why Stafford and Greenhouse had followed Few's car.

Stafford and Greenhouse were arrested last month, but not formally charged until last week.

Second degree murder, according to the attorney general's office, is punishable by a "mandatory sentence of life in prison without parole," while attempted second-degree murder is punishable with 50 years in prison and hard labor.

Attorney general Buddy Caldwell said in a statement that his office "will continue its detailed and thorough investigation as we prepare for trial."

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