Former Marksville deputy marshal Derrick Stafford was sentenced to 40 years in prison Friday, a week after an Avoyelles Parish jury found the 33-year-old former policeman guilty in the fatal shooting of a 6-year-old boy and the wounding of the boy’s father.
Stafford, who apologized to the boy’s father and asked for leniency, was convicted of manslaughter in the death of Jeremy Mardis, an autistic first grader, and attempted manslaughter in the wounding of Chris Few, the boy’s 26-year-old father.
But Judge William Bennett, who presided over the week-long trial, decided to impose the four-decade sentence — the maximum for manslaughter, and a prison term Stafford’s attorneys described at the hearing as essentially a life sentence — after reading an eight-page statement from the bench.
Bennett called Stafford "a good man" but described the hail of gunfire unleashed by Stafford and a fellow deputy, Norris Greenhouse Jr., at the end of a two-mile pursuit on Nov. 3, 2015, as "a senseless tragedy" for which Stafford was justly convicted.
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