A Louisiana deputy marshal charged with second-degree murder in the shooting death of an autistic 6-year-old boy was convicted of the lesser offense of manslaughter Friday. Derrick Stafford was one of two officers who fired 18 bullets at the car of Christopher Few after a chase in 2015, unaware that Few's son was inside, the New York Daily News reports. The boy, who was in the front seat, was hit by four bullets and killed. Few was critically injured and learned of the death of his son when he woke up from a coma six days later. Stafford testified that he hadn't seen the boy and that he fired in self-defense, fearing that Few might reverse over fellow officer Norris Greenhouse Jr., the Advocate reports.
Stafford, who fired 14 shots at the vehicle, told the court he hadn't seen that Few had his hands up when he opened fire. "Never in a million years would I have fired my weapon if I knew a child was in that car," said Stafford, who became tearful when prosecutor John Sinquefield showed him photos of Jeremy's body. The prosecutor called the shooting an "execution" and said that at an average speed of 30mph, the 2-mile pursuit that preceded it was more of a "parade" than a chase. Greenhouse was also charged with murder and will go on trial in June. The AP reports that before the Marksville shooting, both officers had already been sued for using excessive force.