A Louisiana law enforcement officer, who was convicted of fatally shooting a 6-year-old boy with autism while chasing his father's car, has been sentenced to 40 years behind bars.
Derrick Stafford, a deputy city marshal, was convicted of manslaughter and attempted manslaughter last week after opening fire on Christopher Few's vehicle on November 3, 2015 and killing his son, Jeremy.
On Friday, Stafford was sentenced to 40 years without parole for manslaughter and 15 years for attempted manslaughter, according to the attorney general's office. The sentences will run concurrently.
Stafford and another deputy city marshal had attempted to pull Christopher Few over in Marksville before opening fire.
Avoyelles Parish investigators initially said the marshals were chasing Few because of an outstanding warrant. However, the clerk of court, the district attorney’s office, the Marksville Police Department and city court and did not find any in his name, according to an investigation by WAFB.
Stafford said that he opened fire because he feared Few would back up and hit his colleague, who had fallen in the road as they attempted to pull the driver over.
But bodycam footage released last September showed that Few raised his hands before the two deputies opened fire.
The footage appeared to show an officer at the scene checking Jeremy's pulse as his father was slumped over, bleeding on the ground.
Few was seriously wounded but survived, while his son, who was struck with four bullets, was killed.
Stafford fought back tears as he told jurors in Marksville last week that he didn't know the boy was in the car.
"Never in a million years would I have fired my weapon if I knew a child was in that car," he said after he was shown pictures of the boy. "I would have called off the pursuit myself."
Few told the court that he didn't know his son had died until he woke up from a coma nearly a week later.
He said he tried to get away from deputies because he wanted to take his son to his girlfriend's house, where he would be safe. But he added that "every day" he regretted not pulling over.
A second deputy who fired, Norris Greenhouse Jr., will go on trial later this year after pleading not guilty to manslaughter and attempted manslaughter.
Two other officers at the scene did not fire their weapons.