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Six jurors selected for Marksville deputy charged in child's death

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MARKSVILLE - A Marksville law enforcement officer charged with murder in a 6-year-old boy's fatal shooting is heading to trial.

Jury selection began Monday morning for Derrick Stafford's trial in Marksville, where he and another city marshal fired at a car after a November 2015 pursuit. The shooting killed six-year-old Jeremy Mardis, who was in the passenger seat of the car, and critically wounded his father, Christopher Few. Stafford is charged with second-degree murder and attempted second-degree murder.

As of Monday afternoon, six jurors have selected and 60 potential jurors have been subpoenaed for jury selection on Tuesday. Prosecutors asked prospective jurors if they can set aside any potential biases if picked for the murder trial. One of the questions Assistant Attorney General John Sinquefield has asked potential jurors is whether or not race could influence their decisions. 

Stafford's attorney requested a continuance in order to explore their theory of a third-shooter involved, however Judge William Bennett denied the request, as it was presented late on Friday. The Judge Bennett also ruled that the state cannot present evidence of a third shooter, however the state can respond if the defense motions it during the trial. 

The state also said that it will be using its ballistics expert, Greg Phares, in the case. 

Video from a police officer's body camera showed Few stopped his car and had his hands raised inside his car while the deputies fired.

Prosecutors say Few didn't pose a threat to the officers, but defense attorneys argue that the deputies acted in self-defense.

A gag order was also requested, but the judge did not issue one. Rather, he stated that he would consider it. 

The other deputy involved, Norris Greenhouse Jr., awaits a separate trial later this year.


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