Judge denies, dismisses motions to reduce bonds for Marksville police officers

Judge denies bond reduction for Marksville police officers

MARKSVILLE, LA (WAFB) - Motions to have the bonds reduced for two Marksville police officers accused of killing a 6-year-old during a pursuit were not granted Thursday morning.

Derrick Stafford and eight others including his wife, mother, friends and even pastor testified on why they could not make the $1 million bond. But in the end, Judge William Bennett denied the motion to reduce Stafford's bail.

"I'm disappointed at the judges decision. We expected a lowering of the bond," said Jonathan Goins, Stafford's lawyer.

Stafford's wife, Brittany, said that they "just can't come up with that amount." She said putting together all the property of about five or six people, they could manage a bond of $150,000, which the judge said is too low.

Norris Greenhouse Jr.'s lawyer George Higgins also filed a motion to have Greenhouse's $1 million bond reduced & his ankle monitor removed. However, Higgins dismissed the motions on his own because his client was not present for the hearing.

Greenhouse Jr.'s lawyer, George Higgins, said he knew the motion was a long shot.

"I knew we had this hearing. I filed this out of an abundance of caution but we are satisfied," says Higgins.

Greenhouse Jr. is already out on a $1 million bond after his father, Norris Greenhouse Sr., posted a property bond. If Greenhouse Jr.'s bond had been reduced, the family would have received some of the property back.

Stafford will remain in Rapides Parish Prison on a $1 million bond.

Greenhouse Jr. and Stafford are accused of shooting and killing 6-year-old Jeremy Mardis in November. Mardis' father, Chris Few, was also shot during the incident.

Judge Bennett said some of his reasons for not reducing Stafford's bond is the fact that there is too much evidence in this case. He said there are two other officers who witnessed everything, Chris Few, and the body camera that caught everything on camera.

"Sometimes you can have good people with a spotless record and good character who can commit very serious crimes but the law treats everybody the same," John Sinquefield with the Attorney General's Office.

Sinquefield added another reason not to reduce bond was that the grand jury found enough evidence last week to formally indict both officers. Plus, the judge made note of Stafford's previous felony arrest and charge.

Rapides Parish court records show that in 2011, a grand jury charged Derrick Stafford with two counts of aggravated rape, one for 2004 and another in 2011. However, when the case went before the court in 2012 the "matter is being dismissed without prejudice," according to the court minutes.

The charges were brought up repeatedly in court to point out that Stafford never missed a court date as his lawyer tried to prove he would not miss a court date if he were able to make bond.

Despite those charges being dismissed, the judge said it was a factor in his decision and releasing Stafford would likely pose a danger to himself and others.

"By no means, did my nephew and Norris Greenhouse intentionally kill this little boy," said Bertha Andrews, Stafford's aunt.

Thursday's decision did not sit well with Andrews. She puts the blame on Few.

Andrews: "This is to Mr. Few. When you are sitting down in mourning your son, you think about the fact that you put him in that position he was in. My nephew did not do it. My nephew was only doing his job in the line of duty trying to keep you from killing another police officer."
Kiran: "How was Norris Greenhouse's life threatened or Derrick Stafford's life threatened?"
Andrews: "Because if he was trying to run over, he was trying to run over them. He used his vehicle to run over, he had rammed the police car two or three times."

However officials say the vehicle only had a minor scratch and investigators say Few did not ram the officers' car. They added that Few did not have a gun on him, no warrant out for his arrest and when he stepped out of his car, he had his empty hands in the air.

All of that is not justice for Andrews.

"We taught him right from wrong. We taught him how to be a giving person. We taught him how to respect people and be humble to everyone," said Andrews.

Alexandria City Marshal Terrence Grines testified Thursday that he fired both Greenhouse Jr. and Stafford because he could not explain to taxpayers paying people who were not working there and don't know how long the court process will take.

The arraignment has been set for January 5.

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