Judge grants continuance for Derrick Stafford's trial in death of 6-year-old boy

Judge grants continuance for Derrick Stafford's trial in death of 6-year-old boy

MARKSVILLE, LA (WAFB) - A former city marshal in Marksville charged with murder in the shooting death of a boy was in court Tuesday to learn a judge's decisions on a number of motions filed by his lawyers.

Attorneys for Derrick Stafford filed seven motions seeking a number of things before the case heads to trial.

Stafford's attorneys requested a continuance in the case in order to go through all of the evidence in the case. The trial was scheduled to begin on Sept. 26, 2016. A new trial date has been set for Nov. 28, 2016, which was the original trial date for Norris Greenhouse Jr., the other suspect in the case. A new date for Greenhouse's trial has not been set.

They want the trial to be moved out of Avoyelles Parish, but the change of venue motion was deferred until the start of jury selection. Both parties stipulated to the fact that there has been extensive media coverage locally, statewide and nationally, but the judge said the heavy media coverage is not reason enough to grant a change of venue. The judge said change of venue would only be granted if the jurors cannot be fair and because they have not been questioned yet, it is premature to determine if the jurors in Avoyelles Parish can be fair, which is why the change of venue motion was deferred

Three motions were stipulated by both the state and defense attorneys: provide criminal records and pending charges for all of the state's witnesses, disclose evidence favorable to defendant and allow Stafford to go view the crime scene.

The defense attorneys requested the state to disclose the psychiatric and behavioral history of the boy's father, Christopher Few. The judge denied that, saying he could not force Few to give up his medical records to speak to the defense attorneys.

Defense attorneys said Stafford does not have enough money to hire experts so they asked for the taxpayers money. The judge said they need to provide proof of indigence within five days.

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Stafford is charged with second-degree murder in the death of Jeremy Mardis, 6, late last year. Investigators said Mardis was a passenger in his father's car when a pursuit started and Stafford and Greenhouse, another city marshal, fired at the vehicle. They later determined Greenhouse and Stafford were not justified and were charged. Both are currently out on bond.

The shooting happened on Nov. 6, 2015. Mardis was killed and Few was injured during the shooting.

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