An Avoyelles Parish jury found former Marksville Deputy Marshal, Derrick Stafford, guilty of manslaughter and attempted manslaughter in the fatal shooting of a 6-year-old boy and the injuring of his father. Stafford will be sentenced on March 31st. Legal analyst Tim Meche says the judge will be under enormous pressure so Stafford is likely looking at close to 40 years in prison.

“I think it’s perceived that he got a break, that the jury convicted him of manslaughter and not murder. I think the judge will take that into consideration.”

In 2015, Stafford and another marshal, Norris Greenhouse Jr., were accused of opening fire into Chris Few’s vehicle, killing the child and wounding Few. Meche says this is a classic case of a compromised verdict. He says the theory of manslaughter was not brought forward during the trial, only murder or self-defense.

“Some of the jurors believed it was murder, some believed he should be found not guilty and they split the baby and rendered a compromised verdict of manslaughter.”

Stafford took the stand Friday and said he fired into the vehicle because he believed the child’s father, Chris Few, would use the vehicle as a weapon. Greenhouse is scheduled to go to trial later in the year. Meche says Stafford’s conviction will heavily affect Greenhouse’s trial.

“The people in that parish will know what happened to the prior defendant and they’ll be less likely to treat him any differently.”