Man accused in accidental killing of pregnant teen pleads not guilty
PINE GROVE, La. (WAFB) - The man accused of accidentally killing a pregnant teenager and her unborn child pled not guilty in the deadly shooting that happened in March on Siegen Lane in Baton Rouge.
Chad Blackard pled not guilty to negligent homicide and third degree feticide in court on Tuesday, Aug. 30.
Police identified the pregnant teenager who was killed as Karrington Len Jade Smith, 17.
Smith served as a volunteer firefighter for St. Helena Parish where she lived.
On Matthew Street in Pine Grove, the St. Helena Fire Station turned into a second home for Jade.
“She wanted to serve her community, she wanted to help others. Her favorite part was whenever they had a scene that had children on it, that’s where she wanted to be. She wanted to be, you know, keep the children occupied, keep them where they were safe,” Jade’s mother, Kathleen Hammett, explains.
Jade spent almost eight years working as a volunteer firefighter for St. Helena Parish. According to her mother, she had a passion for helping others, her dreams were to either become a fire chief like her father or a nurse. Family members also say she enjoyed anything that would allow her to be around people or children.
“It’s hard, it’s hard. We miss her, I am waiting for her to just drive up and walk through the door. We miss her, we grieve for her, we love her, we cherish her always,” Hammett adds.
Hammett and her family are grieving for the loss of Jade.
According to East Baton Rouge Sheriff’s Office, just after a fire department banquet on Saturday, Jade was in the car with some mutual friends going to Top Golf in Baton Rouge.
Deputies say Chad Blackard was sitting behind Jade while the group traveled down Siegen Lane. He fired a single round from his semi-automatic handgun, hitting her in the back, according to investigators.
After questioning, deputies say they later learned Blackard was allegedly “playing with the handgun” when it was discharged.
Blackard told deputies when he tried to reposition the gun, it “went off,” officials say.
According to EBRSO, Blackard later stated he squeezed the trigger while readjusting the weapon.
Blackard not only killed Jade, but her unborn child, deputies say.
“The one thing she wanted more than anything in this world was to be a mamma, and I am so grateful that she had a chance to feel him move in her, and to know that she was going to be a mamma,” said Hammett.
Jade was 26 weeks pregnant when she died, she and her boyfriend, Dustin, were expecting a baby boy. Now, the family is planning to frame her fire gear, a reminder of their beautiful daughter and how she cared for others.
“I wish that the gun would have never been fooled with, I wish somebody would have spoken up and say put it away. I wish somebody could’ve protected her. I just wish things would have been different,” Hammett says.
Blackard was booked into the East Baton Rouge Parish Prison on Saturday, March 12 on charges of negligent homicide, third-degree feticide, and illegal use of weapons.
He was released on bond on Wednesday, March 16.
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