A Louisiana law enforcement officer has been sentenced to 40 years in prison after being found guilty of manslaughter in the fatal shooting of a 6-year-old boy with autism.
33 year old Derrick Stafford received a sentence of 40 years without parole for manslaughter in the death of Jeremy Mardis and 15 years for the attempted manslaughter of Christopher Few, both sentences will be served simultaneously.
In 2015, Stafford and another deputy city marshal tried to pull Few over in Marksville, Louisiana, they engaged in a two-mile car chase before opening fire.
According to news reports, the officers continued firing despite Few having his hand out the window in a sign of surrender.
Few was wounded but his son Jeremy was shot five times in the head and chest, killing him.
Norris Greenhouse Jr., 25, is the officer who was with Stafford at the time. His trial will take place later this year, he is also facing second-degree murder charges.
On the night of the shooting, Stafford and Greenhouse were moonlighting as deputy city marshals. They were accompanied by two additional officers at the time of the shooting, but they didn’t open fire on Few’s car that night.
Stafford wept during the trial when he saw photographs of the dead child and said that he wouldn’t have fired knowing a boy was in the car.
He said “Never in a million years would I have fired my weapon if I knew a child was in that car. I would have called off the pursuit myself.”
Stafford’s reason for opening fire was that he feared Few would reverse and run over Greenhouse, however, prosecutors said the officers were at a safe distance from the car and weren’t in any danger.