23-yr-old pleaded not guilty after accidental discharge killed mother-to-be

What should have been a group of friends enjoying a Saturday night turned tragic when a mother-to-be was killed allegedly at the hands of her own friend showing off a gun.

Chad Blackard, 23, was in court in Baton Rouge on Aug. 30th, 2022 for his arraignment. He pleaded not guilty to negligent homicide & third degree feticide, both felonies. 

It was on March 12, 2022 when a group of five friends from St. Helena Parish was in Baton Rouge to go enjoy a Saturday night at Top Golf.

Around 6:15 pm, the group was on Siegen Ln. with Karrington Len Jade Smith, 17, sitting in the front passenger seat. The accused, Blackard, was sitting in the rear right passenger seat directly behind Smith.

Blackard allegedly “removed his handgun and holster from his side and hung it on the rear front right passenger seat. When he attempted to reposition his gun, it ‘went off’.” Blackard told officials that “he may have accidently removed a portion of the gun from the holster and squeezed the trigger while he was readjusting it.”

Detectives said Blackard “continued to eject the magazine and brag about how his gun outperforms the gun owned by one of the other occupants.”

The single round fired traveled through the front right passenger’s seat and hit Smith in her back. She was transported to a hospital in critical condition but she and her 25-week old fetus died from the gunshot wound.

“That mother was my future daughter-in-law Jade Smith and my unborn grandchild Dallas Layne,” said Virene Pierre Husser. She said Blackard’s plea today was “expected.” “We had 15 people with us today and while he was signing his papers, we all walked out and stood in the hallway with our ribbons on when he walked out the door. We know he saw us even though he didn’t look at any of us.”

Smith’s father said the entire family is very upset over Blackard’s plea.

The next court date is scheduled for Jan. 30, 2023.

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