$1 million bond for Louisiana police who shot 6-year old. Why so high?

'Disturbing' body camera footage shows the incident 'was not a threatening situation' for the officers, attorney says.

(Louisiana State Police via AP)
These booking photos provided by the Louisiana State Police shows Marshal Derrick Stafford (left) and Marksville City Marshal Norris Greenhouse Jr. The two were arrested on charges of second-degree murder and attempted second-degree murder in the fatal shooting of Jeremy Mardis, a six-year-old autistic boy, on Tuesday in Marksville, La. The shooting also wounded Mardis' father, Chris Few.

A judge has ordered two Louisiana police officers be held on $1 million bond as they await trial for their involvement in the shooting death of a 6-year-old autistic boy last Tuesday.

Derrick Stafford and Norris Greenhouse Jr. have been charged with second-degree murder and attempted second-degree murder after they fired multiple shots at Chris Few’s car in Marksville, La. Mr. Few was injured in the encounter and remains hospitalized. His 6-year-old son, Jeremy Mardis, was killed.

The bond hearing was closed to the public, so the justification for the size of the bond is unknown, but the size of the bond – as well as the few statements investigators have made on the case so far – give an indication of how serious the situation is for the two officers.

Bond is typically determined by two main factors: whether the defendant is likely to reoffend, and whether they pose a flight risk. More serious or dangerous crimes typically incite a higher the bond. Sometimes bond can be denied altogether, as it was to a former officer in South Carolina charged with murder in an on-duty shooting earlier this year.

The two officers were arrested on Friday, three days after the shooting. In a news conference after the arrest, Superintendent of the Louisiana State Police Col. Mike Edmonson called body camera footage of the incident "the most disturbing thing I’ve seen."

"Nothing is more important than the integrity of this badge. Tonight, the badge has been tarnished by these two individuals," Edmonson added, according to ABC affiliate WBRZ.

The circumstances surrounding the shooting are still being investigated, but Few's attorney, Mark Jeansonne, said on Monday that police body camera video from the incident shows that Few had his hands up and posed no threat to police.

"This was not a threatening situation for the police," said Mr. Jeansonne.

Jeansonne said he hasn't seen the video, but its contents were described to the judge during Monday's closed-door bond hearing, he said.

Few's condition is improving, Jeansonne added, but he still hasn’t been told that his son died at the scene. 

Besides body camera footage, investigators have also been reviewing forensic evidence and 911 calls.

State police have declined to comment, citing the ongoing investigation, but initial reports suggested the officers were serving a warrant on Few when the shooting happened. Edmonson, however, said there was no evidence a warrant was issued. No gun was found on the scene, he added, and the boy had died while still buckled into the front seat of the car.

Jeremy is to be buried this afternoon in Hattiesburg, Miss. He had recently moved to Louisiana from Hattiesburg.

Monday brought some other developments related to the trial of the two officers. District Attorney Charles A. Riddle recused himself from the case because one of his top assistant prosecutors is Greenhouse’s father and their personal relationship would be a "conflict with the fair and impartial administration of justice," according to a copy of the recusal order obtained by ABC. The state attorney general's office will take over the prosecution.

The case is "not good for any of us," Mr. Riddle said.

Both officers were working in their secondary capacity as part-time deputy marshals in Marksville’s Ward 2 on Tuesday when they fired at Few's car. Stafford is a full-time lieutenant with the Marksville Police Department; Greenhouse is a full-time city marshal.

"This is a complex case, it's got a lot of moving parts," Edmonson said in his press conference on Friday. "We've got a lot of work ahead of us, we've got a lot of things to do."

"This is a very tragic time," he added. "Jeremy Mardis…he didn't deserve to die like that."

Material from the Associated Press was used in this report.

You've read  of  free articles. Subscribe to continue.

Dear Reader,

About a year ago, I happened upon this statement about the Monitor in the Harvard Business Review – under the charming heading of “do things that don’t interest you”:

“Many things that end up” being meaningful, writes social scientist Joseph Grenny, “have come from conference workshops, articles, or online videos that began as a chore and ended with an insight. My work in Kenya, for example, was heavily influenced by a Christian Science Monitor article I had forced myself to read 10 years earlier. Sometimes, we call things ‘boring’ simply because they lie outside the box we are currently in.”

If you were to come up with a punchline to a joke about the Monitor, that would probably be it. We’re seen as being global, fair, insightful, and perhaps a bit too earnest. We’re the bran muffin of journalism.

But you know what? We change lives. And I’m going to argue that we change lives precisely because we force open that too-small box that most human beings think they live in.

The Monitor is a peculiar little publication that’s hard for the world to figure out. We’re run by a church, but we’re not only for church members and we’re not about converting people. We’re known as being fair even as the world becomes as polarized as at any time since the newspaper’s founding in 1908.

We have a mission beyond circulation, we want to bridge divides. We’re about kicking down the door of thought everywhere and saying, “You are bigger and more capable than you realize. And we can prove it.”

If you’re looking for bran muffin journalism, you can subscribe to the Monitor for $15. You’ll get the Monitor Weekly magazine, the Monitor Daily email, and unlimited access to CSMonitor.com.

QR Code to $1 million bond for Louisiana police who shot 6-year old. Why so high?
Read this article in
https://www.csmonitor.com/USA/Justice/2015/1109/1-million-bond-for-Louisiana-police-who-shot-6-year-old.-Why-so-high
QR Code to Subscription page
Start your subscription today
https://www.csmonitor.com/subscribe