Published: Fri, April 21, 2017
U.S. | By Eddie Scott

Cardell Hayes sentenced for fatal shooting of former Saints star Will Smith

Saints Head Coach Sean Payton testified about Smith's character and described him as an extremely smart, passionate man.

The ruling clears the way for the sentencing of Cardell Hayes later this week.

He said he took responsibility for actions by staying on the scene to wait for police and talking to them once they arrived. "There are no winners here today", her statement said.

"Just lock me up to give me my son back!"

As she puts it, "I will continue to shine my light for my Superman".

Hayes shot Smith to death and shot Smith's wife, Racquel, in the legs, during a traffic dispute in the New Orleans' trendy Lower Garden District off Magazine Street previous year.

Hayes, 29, faces up to 40 years for manslaughter for killing Smith, and another 20 years for attempted manslaughter for wounding Racquel. Prosecutors have suggested the maximum 60 years.

Hayes and Smith were involved in a traffic-related altercation on April 9, 2016, when Hayes got out of his auto and discharged a firearm into Smith's vehicle.

Racquel Smith filed one against Hayes, and Richard Hernandez, a passenger in Smith's auto that night, sued both Smith and Hayes, accusing both of aggressiveness and drunkenness, and seeking damages for personal injuries.

Hayes followed them, and slammed into Smith's SUV.

Hayes filed a lawsuit in state court on April 10 in which he says after he accidentally hit Smith's Mercedes SUV with his Hummer, the former National Football League player threw a drink in his face, punched him, and then pulled a gun. Smith's gun was found in his auto, loaded but unused. Hayes's lawyers are seeking a new trial.

Rodrigue also hammered away at Hayes's insistence - contradicted by testimony and evidence - that he shot Smith only after Smith grabbed a gun and fired.

Defense attorney Jay Daniel said Hayes truly believes he was in danger when he shot Smith during an argument over traffic previous year. Daniel is urging the judge to give less than the minimum if she feels it's excessive.

The judge is expected announce the sentence soon.

"If he was sentenced to 60 years, he probably could have died in jail".

NEW ORLEANS (AP) - The man who killed retired New Orleans Saints star Will Smith during a traffic dispute cried about missing his son, insisted he acted in self-defense and apologized to Smith's family on Thursday.

That would likely require Fuller to waive a 48-hour wait period that went into effect Wednesday when Fuller moved for a new trial, a motion quickly rejected by the judge.

Testimony ahead of the sentence has been emotional.

Hayes' mother, Dawn Mumphrey, later took the stand.

Although prosecutors said Hayes deliberately rammed Smith's vehicle, Hayes insisted he was trying to get Smith's license number when the second crash occurred. "You and Will were (both) wrong because you operated in anger", he recalled telling Hayes.

He looked at Racquel Smith and told her he wishes the night had never happened.

Hayes, who was convicted of manslaughter and attempted manslaughter, insisted at trial that he shot in self-defense. His testimony conflicts with trial testimony indicating only one gun was sacked.

Later, under tough questioning by a prosecutor, he referred to the Smiths, saying, "I apologize for their loss".

The defense gets a chance to make its case for leniency Thursday in the shooting death of former New Orleans Saints star Will Smith.

Smith's widow and other loved ones took the stand at a pre-sentence hearing Wednesday.

The defense has noted the absence of any serious criminal record and has said Hayes, a tow truck business owner and the father of a 6-year-old son, feared for his life when he encountered a drunken, belligerent Smith in the traffic dispute.

Hayes insisted at trial that it was self-defense. But he was convicted of manslaughter and attempted manslaughter.

Smith's family and National Football League colleagues, meanwhile, showed their support in the courtroom. The motion is expected to be argued Wednesday, the same day Hayes is scheduled to be sentenced.

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