DEDHAM — A 24-year-old Stoughton man pleaded not guilty today to charges of motor vehicle homicide while drunk and motor vehicle homicide in a car crash in May in Canton that killed his former girlfriend.
Sean E. Jackman wore a gray suit and stared straight ahead as he entered his plea in Norfolk Superior Court, with his relatives and family members of the victim, Evan Bard, looking on.
He was released after the brief hearing on the same bail conditions that were imposed after his District Court arraignment -- house arrest except for medical and legal appointments, electronic monitoring, and random drug and alcohol screening.
Jackman and his family left court without speaking to reporters.
Bard’s family huddled on the courthouse steps after the hearing, some of them in tears.
Her great-uncle, Norm Minor, of Sutton, said the family remains devastated by the loss.
“She was intelligent, bright, sociable, both on campus and academically,” Minor said of Bard, who was a Curry College nursing student.
Minor said he lost a grandson under similar circumstances, adding that “the courts just have to put an end to this.”
According to a Canton police report and Bard’s friends at Curry, she and Jackman had dated, then broke off their relationship, but stayed friends. They were returning from a wedding when the crash took place late on the night of May 10 on Bolivar Street, records show.
Bard, of Agawam, was in the front passenger seat of Jackman’s Toyota Corolla when the car smashed into a wall and a tree in front of the Waterfall Apartments.
The crash propelled tree branches into the passenger cabin of the car, causing Bard, who was wearing a seat belt, catastrophic head injuries. She was pronounced dead at the scene shortly after midnight.
A nurse who stopped to help told police that Jackman was alive but not responsive when she found him in the driver’s seat of the car. A Canton police officer and two Canton firefighters who rushed Jackman to the hospital reported smelling alcohol coming from him, according to police.
Police said they saw skid marks that began underneath the railroad bridge on Bolivar Street, passed across the center line in the street, and jumped the curb before reaching two trees, one of which was cut in half by the impact.
Norfolk District Attorney Michael Morrissey handed the case to Suffolk prosecutors to avoid any conflict of interest, officials said. Jackman was an intern for Morrissey’s predecessor, US Representative William R. Keating and is the nephew of Michael Jackman, who worked in the prosecutor’s office before joining Keating’s congressional staff, records and officials said.
Jackman is due back in court Oct. 21 for a pretrial conference.