Rhykem Rogers

A Slaughter man accused of fatally shooting his 23-year-old girlfriend last year while firing at his brother's dog has been given a February trial date.

Rhykem Rogers, 28, was indicted in December on negligent homicide in the Feb. 25, 2018, death of Cherish Faith Smith, of Baker.

Smith had given birth to the couple's daughter three weeks before the shooting.

Rogers had been out with his brother and mother drinking and returned with his brother to the couple's home on McHugh Road in Baker, where his brother often stayed, an arrest report states.

Rogers demanded that his brother leave after the two men got into a heated argument. Rogers then released his brother's pit bull from the backyard and started shooting at the dog with a semi-automatic handgun as the dog ran across the street, a police report says.

Rogers fired four or five rounds, missing the dog but accidentally hitting Smith, according to the report.

Smith was shot in the stomach around 4:20 a.m. and died at a hospital.

Police later found a black 9 mm handgun across the street from Rogers and Smith's home. Rogers told detectives the gun was his, the report states.

Ad hoc Judge Tony Marabella on Tuesday scheduled a pretrial conference in Rogers' case for Jan. 15 and set a Feb. 10 trial date.

Rogers' attorney, Neal Wilkinson, declined comment afterward.

A negligent homicide conviction would carry up to five years in prison.

Rogers is free on bail.

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