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Man who killed ex-Saints star seeks new trial

21 April 2017, 08:04 | Darin Griffith

Man who killed ex-Saints star seeks new trial

Orleans Parish Sheriff's Office shows Cardell Hayes. Hayes who killed former New Orleans Saints star Will Smith in an argument following a traffic

He insisted he fired at Smith, hitting him once in the side and seven times in the back, only because he believed Smith had retrieved a gun from the SUV. In December, Hayes was found guilty of manslaughter and on Thursday, he found out his punishment.

Cardell Hayes, who faces up to 60 years in prison for manslaughter and attempted manslaughter, said he understands the pain the three Smith children feel as they go through life without their father.

Cardell Hayes, 29, appeared to have caught something of a break at his December trial when a jury rejected the prosecution's push for a second-degree murder verdict, which would have meant mandatory life in prison.

Judge Buras said a sentence any less than that would deprecate the seriousness of the offense.

Smith's widow, Racquel, and other loved ones took the stand Wednesday and tearfully aimed bitter remarks at her husband's killer, Cardell Hayes. She accused him of lying to support a more lenient sentence.

Coach Sean Payton also testified, talking at length of Smith's passion for his team and family.

Thursday was the defense's opportunity to show Hayes' human side before Judge Camille Buras declares his sentence on Friday.

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

A New Orleans man who lives near where former Saints star Will Smith was killed past year insisted Wednesday that he heard two different weapons fired that night. I am particularly grateful to District Attorney Leon Cannizzaro and his assistant district attorneys Jason Napoli and Laura Rodrigue for their hard work in presenting this case with such precision and passion.

Appearing in court with wild mane of hair and a bushy beard, Burnside appeared near tears at times and twice let slip a profanity.

Racquel Smith, widow of former New Orleans Saints star Will Smith, enters the Orleans Parish criminal courthouse with supporters, for a sentencing hearing for Cardell Hayes, who was convicted of manslaughter in the shooting d.

A prosecutor is poking holes in the testimony of a new witness in the killing of retired New Orleans Saints star Will Smith.

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Burnside said he heard "baps" from a smaller weapon and then "booms" from something larger.

The shooting happened in April of 2016 after an altercation in the Lower Garden District.

Napoli noted that in fact, another shooting had happened in the same area just 45 minutes or so before Smith was killed. There was no other witness and no forensic evidence to back up Hayes' claim that Smith was armed.

In sometimes rambling and emotional testimony, a New Orleans man is insisting he heard gunfire from two different weapons when Will Smith was shot to death previous year.

Defense attorney Jay Daniel said Hayes truly believes he was in danger when he shot Smith during an argument over traffic a year ago. The defense has noted the absence of any serious criminal record and has said Hayes feared for his life when he encountered a drunken, belligerent Smith in a traffic dispute past year.

Burnside, in his 50s, testified that he was at his home, near the site of the shooting, when Smith was killed.

"There were four baps before there were eight booms", Burnside said Wednesday.

He didn't witness Smith's killing and said he didn't realize the sounds could be related to Smith's death until reading newspaper accounts.

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

Payton disclosed that he had planned for Smith to coach the Saints' defensive line in 2016. Hayes has maintained that he believed Smith was armed when the two argued over a traffic dispute past year.

Fuller objected to the denial of a new trial and invoked Hayes' right for a 48-hour delay of the imposition of his sentence.

FILE - This April 10, 2016, file photo provided by the Orleans Parish Sheriff's Office shows Cardell Hayes.



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