Derrick Stafford and Norris Greenhouse are indicted on second-degree murder charges
They're accused of killing 6-year-old Jeremy Mardis after pursuing the car his father was driving
"Disturbing" body camera footage helped build the case against the Marksville city marshals
Two Marksville, Louisiana, marshals were indicted on murder charges Thursday in the death of a 6-year-old boy who was shot in the passenger seat of his father’s car after a police pursuit.
A grand jury indicted Derrick Stafford, 32, and Norris Greenhouse, 23, on second degree murder and second degree attempted murder charges in the November 3 shooting, which left 6-year-old Jeremy Mardis dead and his father, Christopher Few, wounded.
“Today’s indictments will allow the state to move forward in the process of seeking justice for Jeremy Mardis and to hold accountable those who are responsible for his death,” Louisiana Attorney General James Caldwell said after the grand jury hearing.
Jeremy, a first-grader, was buckled in the front passenger seat of Few’s car when he was shot.
The marshals began pursuing the car after they witnessed an argument between Few and his girlfriend in front of a local bar, a source close to the case told CNN last month.
The marshals said they witnessed “domestic abuse” and moved in to detain Few, who instead took off in his SUV, according to the source.
The pursuit ended in gunfire on a dead-end street in Marksville, a town of about 5,500 about 90 miles northwest of Baton Rouge, authorities said. At least 18 rounds were fired.
Investigators said there were no outstanding warrants against the father, and no firearm was found in his vehicle.
Knew victim’s father
Greenhouse knew Few before the deadly encounter, a source familiar with the investigation told CNN. Investigators are looking into the extent of their relationship.
State police Col. Michael Edmonson, the head of Louisiana’s state police, said “disturbing” body camera footage helped build the case against the two officers accused of shooting the boy.
“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 last month.
Jeremy’s first-grade special needs teacher Roxanne Couvillion recalled last month how much the boy loved class, playing and alphabet puzzles. Jeremy was autistic and did not communicate verbally, she said. Couvillion said he was one of her favorite students.
She said she especially loved the way his eyes lit up when he smiled.
“We’re just heartbroken,” she said. “He always was an angel, and we know that he’s watching over us.”
Cry for justice
Jeremy’s grandmother Cathy Mardis traveled from central Mississippi to wait for the grand jury’s decision.
“It’s been pure hell,” she told CNN affiliate WBRZ. She wants to see Stafford and Greenhouse behind bars and was pleased with the indictment.
“My heart exploded with happiness. It’s kind of bittersweet to hear it read out loud. It just confirmed what was going on. But then we got what we wanted. We can’t get Jeremy back, but we got what we wanted,” Cathy Mardis said.
Jeremy’s father Christopher Few walked into the courthouse with his lawyer. “He’s doing fine, just as well as can be expected, given what he’s been through, Mardis said.
Defense attorney Alex Higgins, who is representing Greenhouse, expected the indictment, but told CNN affiliate KALB that it in no way proves guilt.
“We expected, to be frank, that this would happen because probable cause is a much lower standard than proving guilt beyond a reasonable doubt,” he said.
He said that the case lacks sufficient evidence and that he is sure his team can provide a good defense.
CNN’s Seth Kovar, Dana Ford and Faith Karimi contributed to this report.