MARKSVILLE, La. — A Louisiana law enforcement officer was sentenced Friday to 40 years in prison a week after being convicted of manslaughter in the shooting death of a 6-year-old boy with autism.
Derrick Stafford, 33, was convicted in the November 2015 shooting that killed Jeremy Mardis and critically wounded his father after a 2-mile car chase in Marksville.
Ruth Wisher, a spokeswoman for Attorney General Jeff Landry’s office, said Stafford was sentenced to 40 years for manslaughter and 15 years for attempted manslaughter. He will serve the sentences currently.
The Advocate reported that Stafford had faced a maximum of 60 years in prison when state District Judge William Bennett sentenced him.
Video from a police officer’s body camera shows the boy’s father, Christopher Few, had his hands raised inside his vehicle while Stafford and a second deputy city marshal collectively fired 18 shots at the vehicle.
Stafford and Norris Greenhouse Jr., the other deputy who fired his weapon that night, were arrested less than a week after the shooting. Greenhouse, 25, awaits a separate trial on murder charges later this year.
Stafford testified at trial that he didn’t know the boy was in the car when he fired and didn’t see his father’s hands in the air.
But he said he shot at the car because he feared Few was going to back up and hit Greenhouse with his vehicle. Stafford said Greenhouse stumbled and fell to the ground as he tried to back away from Few’s car.
Two other officers at the scene – a third deputy city marshal and a Marksville police officer – didn’t fire their weapons that night. Prosecutors said the officers weren’t in any danger and shot at the car from a safe distance.
Stafford and Greenhouse are black. Few is white, and so was his son.