A St. Martin Parish grand jury on Wednesday indicted a St. Martinville man on one count of first-degree murder in the Jan. 18 shooting death of his pregnant fiancée.
Assistant District Attorney Chester Cedars said Joshua McKeel, 21, could face a possible death penalty if convicted in the slaying of Hannah Parker, 19, who was seven months pregnant at the time.
“The case presents a set of extraordinarily, egregious facts, which are highlighted by the fact that not only was Hannah Parker killed but the innocent child that she was carrying was likewise killed,” Cedars said Wednesday.
The shooting occurred on Lady of the Lake Road in St. Martinville at the home of Parker’s mother. The couple was living with the mother at the time, Cedars said.
“There was a shotgun blast to the head of the victim, and it was the cause of death,” Cedars said.
The prosecutor declined to discuss the motive for the killing.
State law defines first-degree murder as intending to kill or inflict bodily harm upon one or more persons.
Because this case involves a pregnant woman and because under state law an unborn child from conception is considered a person, “that makes it a first-degree murder,” Cedars said.
The District Attorney’s Office should make a decision as to whether to seek the death penalty within the next 14 days, Cedars said.