Update: Second Deputy Charged In The Death of Jeremy Mardis Pleads Guilty
On November 2, 2015, 6-year old Jeremy Mardis was in the car with his dad, Christopher Few, when Derrick Stafford and Norris Greenhouse, Jr. opened fire, seriously wounding Christopher and killing Jeremy.
Stafford and Greenhouse, Jr. were charged with attempted second-degree murder and second-degree murder.
Stafford’s trial was in March 2017, in Marksville, Louisiana. We followed the trial here.
The officers, admitting that they did not see a weapon, alleged that Christopher backed up his vehicle and tried running them over. A ballistic expert at trial testified that all shots were fired to the side of the vehicle, and cars do not run sideways. Additionally, body cam footage showed that before the shooting, Christopher had both hands raised outside of his car window.
Derrick Stafford, 33, was found guilty of attempted manslaughter and manslaughter. He was sentenced to 40 years in prison with credit for time served since 11/3/2015. 20 years of his sentence has to be served without parole, probation, or suspension of sentence.
A copy of the judge’s sentencing order is here.
On Friday, September 29, 2017 in an Avoyelles Parish courtroom, Norris Greenhouse, Jr. pleaded guilty to negligent homicide and malfeasance in office. His plea avoids trial.
The state Attorney General’s office prosecuted the case because Greenhouse’s father, Norris Greenhouse Sr., is an assistant district attorney in Avoyelles Parish.
According to the plea deal, Greenhouse, Jr. will be sentenced to 5 years on the negligent homicide charge and 2.5 years for malfeasance. The sentences are to run consecutively, meaning he will serve the sentences back-to-back for a total of 7.5 years.
Greenhouse will have to serve at least two years of the 5-year sentence without the benefit of parole or probation for the negligent homicide charge. He will also have to give up his POST certification, meaning he cannot be a police officer.
During sentencing, Christopher Few said, “It brings us relief that the defendant has admitted guilt and we don’t have to go through another trial again.”
Posted on 10/17/2017, in Cases, Christopher Few, Jeremy Mardis and tagged Christopher Few, Derrick Stafford, Jeremy Mardis, Jr., Louisiana, Norris Greenhouse, plea deal, sentencing. Bookmark the permalink. 13 Comments.
Wow, that’s a first, isn’t it – a cop pleading guilty? Progress?
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Hi Two Sides!
I think the decision on whether to plea guilty is case specific. With Greenhouse, his partner was already found guilty, and the deceased was an innocent child. Those two factors would have likely led the jury to convict Greenhouse on charges resulting in a stiffer sentence.
There have been a few to plead guilty to lesser offenses when the victim survived. One example is that of South Carolina Trooper Sean Groubert plead guilty for the shooting of Levar Jones.
Remember Michael Slager plead guilty to federal charges of violating Walter Scott’s civil rights resulting in death, but he has not yet been sentenced. Hopefully, the judge will not let him off with time served.
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My concern here is that two men did the deed and it was the same deed, and yet they receive such different sentences. OK, one plead guilty but was allowed to on a far lesser charge carrying a far lighter sentence. I’m sensing his father’s position may well have had a lot to do with this.He’d still be getting off lightly if he served at least half of the sentence his colleague got.
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You are right — they did the deed together and should be punished the same. The only thing I was able to find that might tell us about the reason for the lesser sentence comes from Stafford’s trial. 14 shots were fired. A witness from the state examined the two bullets that were fatal to Jeremy and determined they came from Stafford’s gun.
That would essentially mean for Greenhouse that had he gone to trial, he might have been acquitted on the count for second degree murder, but convicted on the count for attempted murder. MAYBE! The State might have been taking a chance unless it could prove that Greenhouse fired the bullets that wounded Christopher.
With juries, one never knows.
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Poor kid. I’m not surprised the officers were convicted. I would be very surprised if the officers were not of color and the child they killed was. As we’ve seen many times.
The question of race came up early when the deputies were charged. If race does indeed play a factor, then we must look at how the state presented the case and whether they would have omitted pertinent arguments, evidence and witnesses had the deputies not been Black. Also, we would need to look at how the same prosecutors performed in other cases when the races were different. Then of course, there is always the jury.
In those incidents where officers are not charged, it’s an entirely different animal. Personally, I think that a jury should have decided the matter regarding Tamir Rice, Patrick Harmon, and others. When prosecutors fail to bring charges is when the communities look for systemic racism and they should.
I said at the time that they were toast to anyone who would listen. They seemed to be laboring under the mistaken impression that being cops afforded them all the privileges and protections of being white cops. They were wrong.
Worse, they compounded their delusions by killing a white kid. Of course they’re toast.
Had Christopher Few been killed rather than wounded, and Jeremy not killed, the deputies might have just gotten away with it. With Christopher alive, he was able to testify why he pulled off and why he stopped when he did. Even with that, the judge’s sentencing order for Stafford disparaged Christopher by saying he made bad choices.
Thinking about some cases, it appears that when the person lives, the officer who shot is convicted.
The deceased speak by way of forensic evidence and now at times, by body or dash cam video. Yet, they are not present in court to answer questions. Mainly what we see at trials are officers saying what they thought, and acquitted based on mind-reading, while no one mind-reads for the deceased.
I would like to take some comfort in your statement “it appears that when the person lives, the officer who shot is convicted”. But I know better. Sadly, I know better.
I’m sorry to hear of your experience. When I spoke/commented, it was based on those cases reported on this blog. (((((Hugs)))))
Reblogged this on SUPABUTTERFLY.
Thanks for the reblog, dear friend.
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