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Brad Smith Successfully Defends North Carolina Man In Tragic Pit Collapse Case

Posted on: December 10, 2013

One of our firm’s North Carolina criminal defense attorneys successfully represented the man who was charged in connection with the death of two young children earlier this year after a dirt pit the children were playing in collapsed. Brad Smith defended Jordan Keely Arwood on involuntary manslaughter charges and saw to it that the judge presiding over the case dismissed both criminal counts.

The case began back in April of 2013, when Chloe Arwood, Jordan Arwood’s six-year-old daughter, and her seven-year-old cousin, Jordan Caldwell, were playing near a dirt pit that was located on Arwood’s mother’s property in western North Carolina. Arwood had been excavating the site for months in preparation for building a home next to his mother’s.

Arwood had taken steps to secure the hole; building wooden supports to line the pit that were intended to prevent a collapse just like the one that killed the two young children. Additionally, while Arwood worked in the area that day, two other adults watched over the kids while they played. The defense put forward witnesses that said the children were not allowed to play in the pit and on the afternoon of the accident slipped away from the adults supervising them to climb into the hole.

Sadly, all the precautions were not enough to keep them safe and one wall of the pit collapsed, burying the young children in a massive amount of dirt. Rescuers say they spent nearly 12 hours digging before finally locating the children’s bodies.

Following the accident, police investigators spent months building a case against Arwood, claiming that his actions amounted to criminal negligence. Prosecutors charged Arwood with two counts of involuntary manslaughter in September and have pursued the case with vigor ever since.

Thankfully Brad Smith was able to convince Superior Court Judge Ali Paksoy that the deaths of the children were accidental and not the result of anyone’s negligence. Judge Paksoy held that there was no probable cause to justify the criminal charges and dismissed both counts.

While Arwood can now go free without fear of incarceration, the real struggle to cope with the loss of his daughter and nephew has only just begun. Brad Smith noted after the hearing that while the dismissal of criminal charges is a win for his client, Arwood would still have to live with the losses for the rest of his life.

Source: “Charges dropped in case of two children killed in N.C. wall collapse,” published at UPI.com.