The parents of 2-year-old Sincere Smith, who accidentally shot himself on Christmas Day, were arrested earlier this week after authorities said their second child tested positive for drugs.
Police said Lakisha Brown, 27, and Rondell Smith, 30, of Conway are charged with unlawful neglect of child or helpless person by legal custodian. The couple was jailed less than a day on Tuesday and each released on $10,000 bail.
The S.C. Department of Social Services tested the couple’s younger child, a daughter who was less than a year old in December. The girl tested positive for cocaine and marijuana, according to an Horry County police report. The testing showed she had inhalation exposure to the cocaine and marijuana as well as ingestion exposure to marijuana.
The girl is placed in emergency protective custody, according to the report.
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Sincere Smith died on the way to the hospital after picking up a gun his father had left on a table and shooting himself on Christmas Day. Rondell Smith is charged with involuntary manslaughter following his son’s death. That charge remains pending.
According to the Gun Control Act of 1968, Rondell Smith is not allowed to possess or acquire a gun or ammunition because he was convicted of a misdemeanor crime that could’ve carried more than two years imprisonment.
He was convicted on misdemeanor drug possession charges – marijuana and cocaine – in 2005 and 2006 according to a State Law Enforcement Division background check.
In 2006, he was sentenced to three years imprisonment, suspended, with two years of probation to run concurrently for possession of less than one gram of meth or cocaine base. He was sentenced to one year, suspended, with two years probation for possession of 28 grams or less of marijuana, according to SLED.
He did not have any convictions between 2006 and his son’s death, records show.
Because Rondell Smith’s prior convictions were not for violent crimes, he cannot be charged with unlawful carrying of a weapon at the state level, said Sgt. Robert Kegler with Horry County police.
He could be charged for unlawfully having a gun, but those charges would come from the Federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, Kegler said.
Rondell Smith, in an interview with The Sun News a couple days after his son’s death, was inconsolable by family and said no punishment by the law would suffice.
Tears steadily ran down Smith’s face as he recalled the day his son died. About two weeks before the child’s death, Smith said someone tried to break into his home while he and his family were there. He said he felt like he was nothing because we wouldn’t have been able to protect his family, so he got a gun.