St. Charles Herald-Guide

Competency hearing ordered for woman accused of killing 3

Jonathan Menard - March 21, 2014

A St. Charles Parish judge has ordered doctors to reexamine Jennifer Englade, who was declared unfit to stand trial last year after police say she caused the deaths of three people and an unborn baby in St. Charles Parish.

Englade, who was nearly twice over the legal alcohol limit, crossed a raised median last May on Airline Highway and crashed head-on into a Honda Civic, according to State Police. The driver of the Civic, Romishe Mejia-Fequier of Harvey, was killed in the crash. Esther Centeno, who was pregnant and was riding with Mejia-Fequier, also died in the wreck, as did the passenger in the car that crashed into the two women, Joshua Jones.

Two doctors who examined Englade last August found her incompetent to assist her counsel and proceed to trial. In November, Englade was referred to the East Louisiana Mental Health System to undergo treatment to restore competency.Judge Emile St. Pierre, who is presiding over the case, ordered that two doctors reexamine Englade on April 29 and noted that he hasn’t received any reports on Englade’s condition since November.

Mejia-Fequier’s parents, Robert and Ariana, were troubled by the fact that Englade has yet to answer for their daughter’s death.

“Unlike my daughter and the other victims of this horrific tragedy, Englade is still alive. Every request, every plea of hers has been granted or taken into consideration,” the parents wrote in a letter to St. Pierre. “She was declared ‘incompetent’ and unable to stand trial. She was transferred to the psych ward due to her having a ‘difficult time’ in jail.

“But is that not the point for people who break the law? Is that not the entire purpose of jail, to punish those who show no regard to behaving in a lawful manner that is acceptable to society?”

The parents say that a letter Englade wrote to St. Pierre asking him not to “throw her life away” made them sick.

“Please don’t take my life away from me. I have had a rough life, from growing up to losing loved ones,” Englade wrote. “When I was 11 my mom was hit by a car and killed. My grandparents that raised me died.”

Englade wrote that she would do anything to turn back time to before the fatal crash and that spending time in prison has scared her.

“I’m so sorry for what happened. I’m really not a bad person,” she said. “I’ve never done any time in jail before. I’m very scared!”

She ended the letter by saying that her goal is to renew a relationship with her daughter, who is now 21.

“I’m pleading with you not to take my life away,” she wrote. “I want to change and I know I can.”

According to her psychiatric evaluation last year, Englade has not had a job since 2008 and has been supporting herself with Social Security disability. She told a psychiatrist that she was able to get benefits because she is depressed and has both anxiety and bipolar disorder.

Englade is charged with three counts of vehicular homicide, one count of third-degree feticide and one count of vehicular negligent injuring.

Jennifer Englade
Jennifer Englade