MARKSVILLE, La. (AP) — Two Louisiana law enforcement officers weren’t in any danger when they fired a barrage of bullets at a car, killing a 6-year-old autistic boy and critically wounding his father, a prosecutor said Monday at the start of a murder trial for one of the officers.
But an attorney for Derrick Stafford blamed the deadly confrontation on Jeremy Mardis’ father, calling him “the author of that child’s fate.” Defense attorney Jonathan Goins said the father, Christopher Few, led officers on a dangerous, high-speed chase and rammed a deputy’s vehicle before the shooting.
“Innocent people do not run from the police. Innocent people stop their vehicles, surrender to the police,” Goins said during the trial’s opening statements.
Prosecutors say none of the father’s actions that night can justify the deadly response by Stafford and another deputy city marshal, Norris Greenhouse Jr.
Video from a police officer’s body camera shows Few had his hands raised inside his vehicle “in a universal sign of surrender” while the officers fired their semi-automatic pistols, Assistant Attorney General Matthew Derbes said. At least four of their 18 shots ripped into the child’s body while he was strapped into the front seat.
Few didn’t stop for the officers because he was worried about what would happen to his son if he was arrested, Derbes said.
“He’s going to tell you it’s the biggest mistake of his life,” Derbes told jurors.
Stafford, 33, and Greenhouse, 25, are charged with second-degree murder and attempted second-degree murder in the November 2015 shooting. Greenhouse awaits a separate trial later this year.
Marksville Police Lt. Kenneth Parnell, whose body camera captured the shooting, testified Monday that he brandished his gun but didn’t fire it at the car because he didn’t fear for his life.
“I never saw Mr. Few’s hands,” Parnell said.
Parnell acknowledged telling investigators that he pulled his gun out of concern for “officer safety.”
“I pull my gun in any situation…