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Former Saints player Will Smith's killer gets total of 40 years

21 April 2017

In December, Hayes was found guilty of manslaughter and on Thursday, he found out his punishment.

At the end, neither side was totally satisfied, though Hayes' attorney John Fuller said, "it could have been worse".

Fuller said he did not discuss the sentence's length with Hayes afterward.

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 says. "Lock me up and give me my son back".

Michael Burnside was called by lawyers for Cardell Hayes, convicted of manslaughter previous year in Smith's death.

Cardell Hayes faced up to 60 years if given consecutive maximum terms for manslaughter and attempted manslaughter, as prosecutors had urged.

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

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Hayes said he repeatedly shot Smith in fear for his life, but no other witness or evidence supported his belief that Smith fired a weapon.

A sentencing hearing for Cardell Hayes will hear from defense witnesses testifying on Hayes' Thursday morning.

Napoli also noted the lack of evidence of any other guns being fired - no shell casings from a second gun, and no witnesses, other than Hayes, who indicated a second gun was involved. Hayes has maintained that he believed Smith was armed when the two argued over a traffic dispute a year ago. Daniel is urging the judge to give less than the minimum if she feels it's excessive. Formal sentencing is expected later this week.

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

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. "I would be very surprised if either the state or the defense will present any information to Judge Buras that will significantly change the sentence that she is prepared to impose".

Testimony ahead of the sentence has been emotional. Smith's widow Racquel accused Hayes of lying.

Hayes' lawsuit said Smith's blood tested almost two times the legal limit for alcohol. Dawn Mumphrey, Hayes' mother, begged.

"Being away from my son this year has killed me", he responded softly.

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Assistant New Orleans District Attorney Laura Rodrigue dismissed the tears as a "desperate attempt" to gain sympathy, and hammered at Hayes' claim of self-defense.

Emotion quickly overcame Hayes' mother, who said she would do anything to undo that night last April.

He insisted it was self-defense, but was convicted of manslaughter in Smith's death and attempted manslaughter for wounding Smith's wife.

The man who killed retired New Orleans Saints star Will Smith has been breaking down in tears over being separated from his little boy. Regaining his composure, he looked at Smith's widow Racquel and told her he wishes the night had never happened.

Hayes appeared to have caught something of a break at his December trial when a jury decided against second-degree murder, which would have meant mandatory life in prison. His testimony conflicts with trial testimony indicating only one gun was sacked. "I apologize for their loss".

A judge is expected to announce the sentence Friday. Prosecutors countered that the defense was trying to smear Smith. They tearfully aimed bitter remarks at Smith's killer, Cardell Hayes.

The 29-year-old owner of a tow-truck business could be sentenced to 60 years for fatally shooting Smith and wounding Smith's wife in a confrontation after a traffic crash last year. The judge ultimately rejected a defense motion for a retrial. But he was convicted of manslaughter and attempted manslaughter.

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Former Saints player Will Smith's killer gets total of 40 years