Deputy marshal seeks change of venue in fatal shooting

MARKSVILLE, La. (AP) — One of two deputy city marshals charged in the fatal shooting of a boy who was strapped into the front seat of his father’s car in Louisiana is asking a judge to move his trial to another location.

The Advocate reports ( attorneys for Derrick Stafford, 33, say publicity surrounding the November shooting of 6-year-old Jeremy Mardis and the wounding of his father, Chris Few, has prejudiced potential jurors for the trial in Marksville.

Attorneys Jonathan Goins and Chris LaCour wrote in the motion that other factors that could bias a jury include “government officials (who) made invidious and inflammatory statements” against Stafford after the shooting.

Stafford and Norris Greenhouse Jr., 24, earlier pleaded not guilty to charges including second-degree murder.

State Police said the two opened fire on Few’s car after a pursuit that a third deputy and a Marksville police sergeant also joined. A police report says video from the sergeant’s body camera shows Few’s empty hands were raised and visible inside the vehicle when gunfire erupted.

Few was hit twice but survived. Jeremy, who sat in the front passenger seat, was shot five times and died at the scene.

Stafford’s family has claimed that he and Greenhouse feared for their lives and shot at Few in self-defense.

Stafford’s trial is scheduled to begin Sept. 26, and Greenhouse’s on Nov. 28, though it’s possible the trials will be delayed. Both men remain free on $1 million bail.

A hearing on the change of venue request and other motions is set for June 29.

Greenhouse’s lawyer, George Higgins of Alexandria, said he would not seek to move the trial out of Avoyelles Parish. Higgins said he’s tried several jury trials in the parish.

“I’ve always thought they had jurors who were fair minded,” Higgins said. “That is where the allegations took place. That’s where it should be tried.”


Information from: The Advocate,

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