A Louisiana law enforcement officer has been found guilty of manslaughter in the 2015 shooting of a 6-year-old autistic boy, People reports. Derrick Stafford was convicted on Friday.
The 33-year-old former Marksville police officer and part-time city marshal had been charged with counts of second-degree murder and attempted second-degree murder in the shooting.
He and another officer, Norris Greenhouse Jr., had shot 18 rounds on the car of the boy's father, Christopher Few, after police had followed the 26-year-old through town for two-miles.
The shooting, which took place just after 9 p.m. on Nov. 3, 2015, left Few seriously injured with bullet fragments in his brain and lung while his son — Jeremy Mardis — was killed on the scene while sitting buckled in the front seat.
Mardis had autism and "loved everything, everybody," relatives have said.
During the trial, Few said he heard no warnings from law enforcement before the officers fired. Stafford, however, testified on the stand that he did not see the father's hands in the air and did not know the boy was in the car.
But evidence contradicting Stafford was released. Body camera video showing that Few had his hands in the air before marshals opened fire. Prosecutors argued it showed that the officers were not in any danger.
Stafford was also found guilty of attempted manslaughter in the wounding of Few. Greenhouse Jr., 25, will face a separate trial later this year for the same counts. Both Stafford and Greenhouse plead not guilty to their charges.
After hearing the verdict, Stafford hugged and kissed his sobbing wife, telling her "It'll be alright." He was given 20 minutes to bid goodbye to his family before he was cuffed and lead out of the courtroom.
Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry said in a statement that he was pleased with the verdict.
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