Marksville, La., officer Derrick W. Stafford (L) and Alexandria City Marshal Norris J. Greenhouse, Jr., were indicted last December on charges of second-degree murder and attempted murder in the Nov. 3, 2015, shooting that killed 6-year-old Jeremy Mardis and wounded his father, Chris Few, as they sat in the front seats of their Jeep. Photo courtesy Louisiana State Police
MARKSVILLE, La., Sept. 29 (UPI) -- Nearly a year after 6-year-old Jeremy Mardis was shot numerous times by police while sitting beside his father stopped in their Jeep, body camera footage of the chaotic encounter has been released.
A Louisiana judge effectively released the footage on Wednesday when it was entered into evidence at a pretrial hearing involving two deputy marshals charged in the case.
The 14-minute video captures the fatal shooting and its aftermath, in which a large group of officers survey the damage. It also shows the boy's father, Chris Few, bleeding from his wounds and trying to get out of the Jeep, and later being loaded into an ambulance.
On Nov. 3, 2015, officers in Marksville, La., became involved in a pursuit with Few as he drove the Jeep with his young son. After stopping Few's vehicle, deputies demanded to see his hands a short time before the first shots are fired.
Few, 26, was wounded and stumbled out of the vehicle before lying on the pavement. The boy, who was autistic, never moved -- shot dead in the front seat, struck with five bullets to his head and back.
The officers who fired 18 shots into the car, Derrick Stafford and Norris Greenhouse, Jr., claimed they fired in self-defense because Few was driving erratically. They have been charged with the boy's murder and the attempted murder of Few, who spent a week in the hospital and recovered.
The officers said initially they were attempting to serve a warrant on Few, but it was later discovered that no such warrant existed and Few wasn't wanted for any offense. There were also no weapons in the vehicle.
Prosecutors have argued that Stafford, 33, has used excessive force before. Of the 18 shots fired at Few's vehicle, detectives say 14 came from Stafford's gun.
Twelfth District Judge William Bennett ruled this week that the defendants will face separate trials. The body camera, worn by Sgt. Kenneth Parnell, is expected to play a vital role in the trial of both deputies.
Its footage shows that none of the officers approached Few's SUV for two minutes after the gunfire stopped, and that some reacted with horror upon seeing that a small boy was dead in the front seat. One officer is heard getting sick off camera.
"Don't tell me that, bro," Greenhouse says after Parnell informs him a boy was shot.
"Man, I didn't see a kid in the car," he says at another moment. "I never saw a kid, bro."
At one point, Parnell is asked by another officer, "they got any weapons on them?" The sergeant replies, "I have no idea."
Last year, Louisiana State Police Col. Mike Edmonson called the footage "one of the most disturbing videos I've ever seen."
Both officers have pleaded not guilty to second-degree murder and attempted murder charges. Stafford's trial is scheduled to begin Nov. 28 and Greenhouse's on March 13. If convicted, both could be sentenced to life in prison without parole.