MARKSVILLE, La. — An attorney representing Derrick Stafford, the former Marksville City Marshal convicted of manslaughter in 2017, states that a post made Sunday on Facebook claiming that a judge had granted his client a new trial is false.
Stafford was convicted in 2017 of manslaughter in the on-duty shooting death of 6-year-old Jeremy Mardis and sentenced to serve 40 years in prison.
The Facebook post was made from Jonathan D. Goins, who represented Stafford during his trial in 2017, which read:
Because of the valiant efforts of Attorney Chris LaCour, Attorney Eric Santana and the entire legal team, Mr. Derrick Stafford has been granted a new trial. Judge William Bennett signed the Order for a new trial only because there was not a unanimous jury verdict following his original trial. The verdict was 10-2. As we all know, you now need a unanimous Jury verdict in the State of Louisiana to convict someone. In any other State, Mr. Stafford would have left that courthouse with his Family because the jury verdict was not unanimous. Nevertheless, He should be home soon on bond as he awaits the new trial. #TheDefenseNeverRests.
KATC reached out to the Avoyelles Parish Clerk of Court who said that they had no record of a new trial being granted for Stafford.
Eric Santana, who was Stafford’s appellate attorney and is now his post-conviction attorney, tells KATC that he was not contacted about the post until a family member for Stafford saw it and told him. He then contacted Goins to have it removed. The post has been taken down as of Monday.
Santana said that he also contacted the court and the judge who said they had no record of a new trial being granted for Stafford.
“What really upset me was the family thought it was true,” said Santana. “For them to go through all of this is very upsetting with everything they’ve been through.”
KATC also reached out to Goins about the post, who responded by email saying, “This is inaccurate information.”
Santana said that he is working with attorney Barry Ranshi and plans to file for post-conviction relief for Stafford later this year.
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