An attorney for a Zachary man accused in the fatal 2017 beating, stabbing and shooting of his 11-month-old son told a judge Thursday he’s trying to resolve the case without going to trial.

Fabian Smith, 36, is charged with second-degree murder in the killing of Jericho Smith and faces a mandatory sentence of life in prison if convicted on that charge.

"We've been in ongoing discussions trying to resolve this," Rob Ray, who represents Smith, told state District Judge Eboni Johnson-Rose during a status hearing in the case.

Ray has said previously that Smith was intoxicated on synthetic marijuana at the time of his son's slaying.

Ray told the judge Thursday that he needed more time to discuss the case with family members.

"I need a big meeting with the family to make sure everybody's on the same page," he added outside the courtroom.

Prosecutor April Leon Johnson confirmed after court that the defense and state have been in talks to try to resolve the case short of going to trial. She declined to discuss what offer is on the table.

Johnson-Rose scheduled a Nov. 10 status hearing and a Nov. 29 trial date.

Smith has been found competent to stand trial. Ray has said mental health experts have opined that Smith's mental state at the time of the horrific crime was diminished due to his self-intoxication.

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Voluntary intoxication is not a legal defense to a crime.

Jericho died of multiple gunshot and stab wounds and blunt force injuries, coroner's officials said. A gun and knife were found inside the home. The toddler was shot in the head and neck, and had gunshot residue around his face — an indication that he was shot at close range, Zachary police detective Enoch Sims testified at a hearing in late 2017.

Smith was the only adult in his Hancock Street home at the time of Jericho’s death on Oct. 14, 2017, police have said. The baby’s mother was at work.

Zachary police detectives believe Smith could have been under the influence of “some type of substance” because he said he could not remember what happened “and the last thing that he could recall was picking up food from Burger King for the children,” a search warrant states.

One of those detectives, Sims, has testified that Smith told a neighbor, “I messed up, I messed up, I messed up.” Sims said Jericho’s then-2-year-old sibling told him, “My daddy killed the baby!”

Zachary police officer Cothern Williams, the first officer on the scene, testified he saw Smith walk out of the house and heard him say, “My baby, my baby!”

Smith also is charged with second-degree cruelty to a juvenile. He has pleaded not guilty and remains in custody. Second-degree cruelty to a juvenile carries up to 40 years behind bars.


Email Joe Gyan Jr. at jgyan@theadvocate.com.