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Rhykem Rogers

A Slaughter man who accidentally shot his girlfriend to death in 2018 while shooting at a dog has been sentenced to two years in prison and ordered to take a firearm training course.

Rhykem Rogers, 30, will be on active supervised probation with the state Department of Public Safety and Corrections for three years after his release from prison.

State District Judge Tarvald Smith also fined him $5,000 last week.

Rogers pleaded guilty earlier this year to negligent homicide in the death of Cherish Faith Smith, 23. She had given birth to the couple's daughter three weeks before the Feb. 25, 2018 shooting.

Rogers' attorney, Neal Wilkinson, said Wednesday that Smith also was the mother of another child, whom Rogers had intended to adopt.

"He loved this young woman and they were preparing to be married and raise their family," Wilkinson said. "He has lost his fiancee and these two beautiful children have lost their mother.

"She cannot be replaced and will be missed by everyone. The family on both sides love this young woman and are devastated by that loss," he added. "Everyone involved needs our prayers and support and my heart goes out to them all."

Judge Smith actually sentenced Rogers to five years in prison but suspended three of those years.

The special conditions of his probation are that he pay $65 a month to defray the supervision costs; undergo a substance abuse evaluation and follow any recommended treatment; remain arrest and conviction free, as well as drug and alcohol free; and complete a firearm training course upon completion of his probation.

Because of his felony conviction, Wilkinson said Rogers will not be allowed to possess a gun for 10 years after his probation is completed.

Rogers, according to an arrest report, 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, the report states. He fired four or five rounds.

He missed the dog but accidentally hit Smith, the report says. She was shot in the stomach.

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


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