Louisiana deputy gets 40 years in prison for killing boy

MARKSVILLE, LA. (Reuters) - A Louisiana deputy marshal was sentenced on Friday to 40 years in prison for the 2015 killing of a 6-year-old boy who died in a volley of gunfire after the officer chased his father's car.

Derrick Stafford, 33, was convicted by a jury last week of manslaughter and attempted manslaughter in the death of Jeremy Mardis and wounding of his father, Chris Few.

The incident was a "senseless tragedy," Judge William Bennett said on Friday at the Avoyelles Parish Courthouse here. "The shooting simply should never have occurred."

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Jeremy Mardis fatal shooting case
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Jeremy Mardis fatal shooting case

Jeremy Mardis, 6 year old boy killed when police opened fire on an SUV.

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A combination photo of Marksville City Police Marshalls Norris Greenhouse (L) and Derrick Stafford are shown in these booking photos provided by Louisiana State Police in New Orleans, Louisiana, November 7, 2015. Greenhouse and a second police officer were arrested on Friday on charges of killing a 6-year old boy and critically wounding his father during a car chase that ended in a volley of bullets in Marksville, Louisiana, according to state police. REUTERS/Louisiana State Police/Handout via Reuters ATTENTION EDITORS - FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY. NOT FOR SALE FOR MARKETING OR ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS. THIS PICTURE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. REUTERS IS UNABLE TO INDEPENDENTLY VERIFY THE AUTHENTICITY, CONTENT, LOCATION OR DATE OF THIS IMAGE. THIS PICTURE WAS PROCESSED BY REUTERS TO ENHANCE QUALITY, UNPROCESSED VERSIONS WILL BE PROVIDED SEPARATELY
Pallbearers carry the casket of six-year old Jeremy Mardis at a cemetery in Beaumont, Mississippi, November 9, 2015. Mardis, who was autistic, was buckled into the front passenger seat of his father Chris Few's car last week when two Louisiana deputy marshals fired 18 times at the vehicle after chasing it in central Louisiana, state police said. REUTERS/Lee Celano
Mourners, believed to be family members, embrace as they gather for the burial of six-year old Jeremy Mardis at a cemetery in Beaumont, Mississippi, November 9, 2015. Mardis, who was autistic, was buckled into the front passenger seat of his father Chris Few's car last week when two Louisiana deputy marshals fired 18 times at the vehicle after chasing it in central Louisiana, state police said. REUTERS/Lee Celano

Jeremy Mardis, 6 year old boy killed when police opened fire on an SUV.

Image courtesy of Facebook

The hearse carrying the body of six-year old Jeremy Mardis arrives at a cemetery in Beaumont, Mississippi, November 9, 2015. Mardis, who was autistic, was buckled into the front passenger seat of his father Chris Few's car last week when two Louisiana deputy marshals fired 18 times at the vehicle after chasing it in central Louisiana, state police said. REUTERS/Lee Celano
Mourners gather for funeral services for six-year-old Jeremy Mardis at Moore Funeral Chapel in Hattiesburg, Mississippi, November 9, 2015. Mardis died last week after two officers working for the Marksville City Marshall in central Louisiana fired 18 times at a vehicle the child was riding in with his father, Chris Few, state police said. REUTERS/Lee Celano

Jeremy Mardis, 6 year old boy killed when police opened fire on an SUV.

Image courtesy of Facebook

Marksville City Police Marshall Derrick Stafford is shown in this booking photo provided by Louisiana State Police in New Orleans, Louisiana, November 7, 2015. Stafford and a second police officer were arrested on Friday on charges of killing a 6-year old boy and critically wounding his father during a car chase that ended in a volley of bullets in Marksville, Louisiana, according to state police. REUTERS/Louisiana State Police/Handout via Reuters ATTENTION EDITORS - FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY. NOT FOR SALE FOR MARKETING OR ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS. THIS PICTURE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. REUTERS IS UNABLE TO INDEPENDENTLY VERIFY THE AUTHENTICITY, CONTENT, LOCATION OR DATE OF THIS IMAGE. THIS PICTURE IS DISTRIBUTED EXACTLY AS RECEIVED BY REUTERS, AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS
Mourners, believed to be family members, embrace as they gather for the burial of six-year old Jeremy Mardis at a cemetery in Beaumont, Mississippi, November 9, 2015. Mardis, who was autistic, was buckled into the front passenger seat of his father Chris Few's car last week when two Louisiana deputy marshals fired 18 times at the vehicle after chasing it in central Louisiana, state police said. REUTERS/Lee Celano
Mourners embrace before funeral services for six-year-old Jeremy Mardis at Moore Funeral Chapel in Hattiesburg, Mississippi, November 9, 2015. Mardis died last week after two officers working for the Marksville City Marshall in central Louisiana fired 18 times at a vehicle the child was riding in with his father, Chris Few, state police said. REUTERS/Lee Celano

Jeremy Mardis, 6 year old boy killed when police opened fire on an SUV.

Image courtesy of Facebook

Mourners, believed to be family members, embrace as they gather for the burial of six-year old Jeremy Mardis at a cemetery in Beaumont, Mississippi, November 9, 2015. Mardis, who was autistic, was buckled into the front passenger seat of his father Chris Few's car last week when two Louisiana deputy marshals fired 18 times at the vehicle after chasing it in central Louisiana, state police said. REUTERS/Lee Celano

Jeremy Mardis, 6 year old boy killed when police opened fire on an SUV.

Image courtesy of Facebook

Mourners gather for funeral services for six-year-old Jeremy Mardis at Moore Funeral Chapel in Hattiesburg, Mississippi, November 9, 2015. Mardis died last week after two officers working for the Marksville City Marshall in central Louisiana fired 18 times at a vehicle the child was riding in with his father, Chris Few, state police said. REUTERS/Lee Celano
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The boy's grandmother, Cathy Mardis, told the court Jeremy "didn't just die. He died a brutal, miserable, lonely death filled with pain."

Prosecutors had charged Stafford with second-degree murder in the boy's death, but a jury by a 10-2 vote convicted him of the lesser charge.

Bennett also sentenced Stafford to 15 years in prison for wounding Few, but ordered those sentences to run concurrently.

At least four bullets ripped through Jeremy when Stafford and another officer, Norris Greenhouse Jr., opened fire on Few's car at the end of a chase through the small central Louisiana town of Marksville on Nov. 3, 2015.

Body camera footage of the shooting captured by a third officer shows Few, 26, raising his hands through the window as Stafford and Greenhouse opened fire.

Greenhouse was also charged with second-degree murder and attempted second-degree murder and is scheduled to go on trial in June.

(Reporting by Bryn Stole; Editing by Daniel Wallis and Richard Chang)

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