Jeremy Mardis

Photo of a boy with short blond hair and pale skin, photographed outdoors; he is wearing a blue T-shirt that says, I have no excuse... I'm just a kid!Name: Jeremy Mardis
Died: November 3, 2015
Age at death: 6
Cause of death: Gunshot
Location: Marksville, Louisiana, USA

Jeremy and his sister Alyssa lived with their father, who had easily gained custody after their mother was jailed on drug charges.

Jeremy was an outgoing child, constantly smiling, who loved everything and loved everyone he met. Despite being non-verbal, he was an enthusiastic student in the first grade. When he was upset, teachers would give him a snack or rub his arm to comfort him. He liked being outdoors and playing with an iPad.

Jeremy was buckled into the passenger seat of the family car while his father drove when a police car began chasing down their car. Jeremy’s father tried to evade the police, but they cornered him in a dead-end road. As Jeremy’s father raised his hands in surrender, the officers shot at the car eighteen times. Jeremy was killed instantly; his father was seriously injured.

The police officers claimed they had been trying to serve a warrant and Jeremy’s father had attacked them. However, body camera footage showed that Jeremy’s father had not had a weapon and had had his hands raised, and there had never been a warrant. The true motivation may have been that one of the officers was romantically involved with Jeremy’s mother, and was angry that she had been calling Jeremy’s father her fiance.

Both police officers have been arrested and convicted of murder; one was sentenced to 40 years, and his partner to 7 1/2 years. Both police officers had a history of abusing their power as police officers.

I wasn’t sure whether to include this case at first. Jeremy Mardis was murdered, but I am unsure–as are the authorities–whether his killer knew he was in the car at the time. In the end, I fell back on the rule of thumb that if the victim was autistic, and their killer knew they were autistic, then it’s enough. Whether Jeremy was an unintended victim of a love triangle or whether the killer intended to kill both him and his father, this six-year-old boy was killed by someone who probably knew his mother well enough to know that Jeremy was autistic. -Editor

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