Woman charged in death of inmate rejects plea deal, headed to trial

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RAPIDES PARISH, La. (KALB) - Jury selection is set to begin on Tuesday for the woman charged with the death of a fellow inmate at the Rapides Parish DC 1.

Source: RPSO

Nicole Chandler, 35, was in jail on the theft of goods, the battery of a police officer, and aggravated battery charges last July. That's when she allegedly got into a fight with Rachel Smith, 59, who was sharing a cell with her.

Deputies found Smith not breathing and unresponsive, and medical staff attempted to save her. But they ultimately determined she was dead.

Chandler was re-arrested and charged with 2nd-degree murder. On Monday, the Rapides Parish District Attorney's Office offered Chandler a chance to plea to the lesser charge of manslaughter and be sentenced to 15 years.

Chandler rejected the offer and is now headed to trial. If she's convicted of 2nd-degree murder, she would face mandatory life at hard labor. She is being represented by Chris LaCour.

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