MURDER IN MARKSVILLE
I returned to my hometown, Marksville, Louisiana, in the spring of 2017 to search for the stories entangled in a tragedy that had the nation reeling. In the process I came to question the very nature of the place where I was raised and where my family still lives, and I finally faced the reasons I had to leave thirty years ago.
I remembered Marksville as idyllic and safe as I drove the 850-miles from Asheville, NC for the trial of one of the two police officers who killed a little boy while attempting to kill the dad. Alone in my car I was at peace, the sun rising behind me, the moon setting above my windshield, as I thought about seeing my aging mother and visiting with my sister and two brothers. My younger brother is the district judge presiding over the murder trial for the two cops. He tried to explain this tragedy to me, long distance, after it happened, but I couldn’t come to grips with it. Why Marksville? Why my people. What happened to create an atmosphere where this senseless, unthinkable murder could happen?
While in Marksville, attending the first trial and talking to people, I began to question my own being and who I am as a product of Avoyelles Parish, South Louisiana, which was a source of pride for me these many years. My journey of discovery, not only about the political feud, the love triangle, the abusive cops, the meth ring and the indignity of my people over this shooting, caused me to see my people and my hometown through new lenses and come to terms with the way things really are, and may always have been.
Murder in Marksville is not about the trials of two cops who abused their power. It’s not the history of Jeremy Mardis and his dad, Christopher Few. It’s not about the mayor and the city judge and the feud between them that created an illegal and immoral breeding ground where a child could be murdered. This book is not even about the drugs and gambling and squalor that have made Marksville unrecognizable to me. Yes, I write about all of that, but what this book is really about is the way this murder and these events changed who I am as a person and what I believed to be true about my hometown.
While every news media in the country covered this tragedy from the killing on November 3, 2015 to the trials of the officers, I am uniquely qualified to tell this story, and I tell it from a personal level as no one else can.