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City marshals indicted in killing of autistic La. boy, 6

MARKSVILLE, La. -- A grand jury in Louisiana indicted two deputy city marshals on second-degree murder charges Thursday in the fatal shooting of a 6-year-old autistic boy last month while he was strapped into the front seat of his father's vehicle.

The indictment handed up by an Avoyelles Parish grand jury charged Derrick Stafford, 32, and Norris Greenhouse Jr., 23, with one count each of second-degree murder and attempted second-degree murder.

Photos released by the Louisiana State Police show Norris Greenhouse Jr., left, and Lt. Derrick Stafford. Louisiana State Police

Police say Stafford, a full-time police lieutenant, and Greenhouse, a former police officer, were moonlighting as deputy city marshals in Marksville on the night of Nov. 3 when they fired at least 18 rounds at a car driven by Chris Few. The shooting severely wounded Few and killed his son, Jeremy Mardis.

Stafford and Greenhouse were arrested on second-degree murder charges last month but not formally charged until Thursday.

Attorney General James D. "Buddy" Caldwell Thursday vowed to "continue its detailed and thorough investigation as we prepare for trial."

The boy's grandmother spoke to the media Thursday outside the courthouse before the indictments were announced, calling for the release of the body camera footage of the shooting and describing the pain the shooting had inflicted on the family.

"It's been pure hell. I can't explain what it's like to bury your 6-year-old grandchild," said Cathy Mardis, 46, of Hattiesburg, Mississippi.

State Police Col. Mike Edmonson cited the tape when he announced the arrest of the two officers, calling it the most disturbing thing he's seen. But he gave no indication of what's on the video.

Last month, an attorney for Few told The Associated Press that video from another officer's body camera showed Few had his hands up inside the vehicle and didn't pose a threat when the officers opened fire. The judge hearing the case then swiftly imposed a gag order, keeping those involved from speaking to the media.

Cathy Mardis said she has not seen the tape and can only imagine what is on there but added: "I thank God the tape is there."

"I want justice for Jeremy. I want justice for Chris," she said. Their family is devastated by the death of the grandson, Mardis said. She said they had an open casket funeral for her grandson even though there were signs of trauma on his body.

She quoted the funeral director as saying, "Don't touch his head. It might fall back apart."

The grandmother was wearing a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles T-shirt, in honor of her grandson who loved the characters. Standing by her side was Samantha Few, the mother of Chris Few. But Samantha Few answered no questions from reporters, saying that she is subject to the gag order.

Cathy Mardis also spoke lovingly of her grandson. He was autistic and non-verbal but very bright, she said.

"He was the most loving child you could have met. He was always smiling and happy. He taught himself to read at three years old just from watching YouTube," she said. Jeremy Mardis has a younger sister who still cannot understand what happened, the grandmother said.

"She's still asking to see her brother every day," she said.

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