Crime

Grand Jury Indicts Cops On Murder Charges In Slaying Of 6-Year-Old Autistic Boy

| by Nik Bonopartis
Derrick Stafford and Norris Greenhouse Jr.Derrick Stafford and Norris Greenhouse Jr.

Two Louisiana city marshals were indicted on murder charges after allegedly killing a 6-year-old autistic boy and severely wounding his father during a traffic stop in November.

City marshals Norris Greenhouse Jr., 23, and Derrick Stafford, 32, were charged with second-degree murder and attempted murder after a grand jury hearing on Dec. 10, CBS News reported.

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The marshals are accused of firing 18 rounds at Christopher Few and his son, 6-year-old Jeremy Mardis, during a Nov. 3 traffic stop in Marksville, Louisiana, a small town about 90 miles northwest of Baton Rouge. The incident was caught on the body camera of a third police officer, Marksville Police Sgt. Kenneth Parnell III, who told the grand jury he didn't open fire because "he didn't fear for his life" during the traffic stop.

The 13-minute video, which hasn't been publicly released, reportedly shows Few raising his empty hands in surrender as officers approached the car, where Jeremy was strapped into the front passenger seat, CNN reported. Although Few reportedly made no threatening gesture, and a subsequent search of the car turned up no weapons, the city marshals opened fire, striking Few twice and Jeremy five times, according to the indictment.

State police Col. Michael Edmonson called the video the most disturbing thing he's seen, and said it was critical evidence in the indictment.

"I've been a police officer for 35 years, but as a father -- much less as a state police -- it was a disturbing, disturbing video that I watched, and that really helped move us forward," Edmonson said in November, according to CNN.

Complicating matters further were reports that Greenhouse Jr. knew Few. It wasn't immediately clear how the city marshal and the Marksville father knew each other, but CNN credited an unnamed law enforcement source for making the connection.

Few's mother, Cathy Mardis, said the family was devastated by the loss of Jeremy.

"It's been pure hell. I can't explain what it's like to bury your 6-year-old grandchild," Mardis told The Associated Press.

Jeremy, who did not speak because of his autism, "was always smiling and happy," Mardis said. The slain boy has a younger sister "who still cannot understand what happened."

"She's still asking to see her brother every day," Mardis said.

Louisiana Attorney General James "Buddy" Caldwell told AP that his office will continue a "detailed and thorough investigation as we prepare for trial."

Sources: CBS News, CNN / Photo source: Louisiana State Police via NBC News