33, was found guilty by 10-2 jury vote in a Marksville,
Louisiana, courtroom, more than a year after he and another
deputy opened fire on Chris Few's Kia SUV after a two-mile
pursuit. Few's son, Jeremy Mardis, 6, who was inside the
vehicle, was shot and killed and Few was wounded.
Prosecutors argued that Stafford stood a safe distance from
Few's vehicle and opened fire out of anger during the Nov. 3,
Stafford "had enough and made a decision to kill a man,"
prosecutor John Sinquefield told jurors during closing
arguments, "and in the process he killed a 6-year-old autistic
Stafford is scheduled for sentencing next Friday when he faces
up 60 years in prison
The second deputy, Norris Greenhouse Jr., also faces charges of
second-degree murder and attempted second-degree murder in the
shooting and is scheduled to go on trial in June.
The two deputies fired at least 18 times at Few's car. Jeremy,
who was hit at least four times, died still wearing his seatbelt
in the front passenger seat. Three bullets recovered from his
body matched Stafford's .40-caliber Glock pistol, state police
Stafford's attorney Jonathan Goins said he plans to appeal.
"One day, Mr. Stafford will see daylight again. We are happy
about that," Goins said after the verdict as Stafford's cried
Stafford told jurors from the witness stand on Friday that he
never saw the young child in the car and fired only in
self-defense after Few, who'd turned into a dead-end, put his
car in reverse.
"I felt I had no choice. That's the only reason I fired my
weapon," said Stafford, who cried on the stand while viewing
photos of the boy's body. "I had no idea a child was in the
The jury viewed footage of the shooting and its grisly aftermath
several times during the trial. The footage was captured on the
body camera of a third officer who arrived at the scene. That
officer testified that he never perceived a threat.
(Reporting by Brendan O'Brien; Editing by Robert Birsel)
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