PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD) — 18-year-old Peoria resident Erick D. Jackson has entered a plea of not guilty in court Thursday for charges against him in the murder of 15-year-old Merian Smith.

Jackson is facing two counts of first degree murder and one count of aggravated battery. He pleaded not guilty to all charges.

According to court documents, Jackson knowingly discharged a firearm and shot Smith while in the 500 block of West Gift Avenue in Peoria on Nov. 7, knowing said acts created a strong possibility of death or great bodily harm to Smith.

He also fired a handgun in the direction of another another person on Gift Avenue on the same day, who was injured, thus constituting the aggravated battery charge.

Jackson was appointed a public defender and will appear in court again on Jan. 11, 2023.