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Rhykem Rogers

A 29-year-old Baker man accused of fatally shooting his girlfriend in 2018 while firing at his brother's dog will plead guilty in May to negligent homicide, his attorney said.

Rhykem Rogers was scheduled to enter that plea Tuesday in Baton Rouge state court, but he wasn't transported to the 19th Judicial District Courthouse because he is being held in East Feliciana Parish on unresolved traffic matters.

State District Judge Tarvald Smith set a new court date of May 19 for Rogers in the 19th JDC.

"We're anticipating a guilty plea once he gets back in East Baton Rouge," Rogers' attorney, Neal Wilkinson, said outside Smith's courtroom.

Negligent homicide carries a sentence from probation to up to five years in prison.

An East Baton Rouge Parish grand jury indicted Rogers in late 2018 on a negligent homicide charge in the Feb. 25, 2018, death of Cherish Faith Smith, 23, of Baker.

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

An arrest report says 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.

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 states.

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

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