"Cardell Hayes was just sentenced to 25 years in prison for killing ex-NFL star Will Smith". Regaining his composure, he looked at Smith's widow Racquel and told her he wishes the night had never happened. Prosecutors have suggested the maximum 60 years.
Hayes' mother and others spoke to his character on Thursday, and WVUEreported that a weeping Hayes took the stand and addressed the victim's children, saying, "To not have a father around, I know what you're going through".
Surveillance footage from the scene appeared to show Smith's Mercedes SUV bump the rear of Hayes' Hummer before speeding off. Moments later, according to authorities, Hayes' Hummer hit the rear of Smith's vehicle, causing it to crash into a third auto. Hayes has maintained that he believed Smith was armed when the two argued over a traffic dispute previous year.
Foret agrees. "Most judges have their minds made up when they take the bench the morning of sentencing", he said. "The jury did reject the state's theory that the defendant had acted with specific intent to kill Will Smith or Racquel Smith".
Wailing and shaking, the mother of the man who killed former New Orleans Saints star Will Smith pleaded for mercy from the judge who is preparing to sentence him.
NEW ORLEANS (AP) - The defense will get a chance to make its case for leniency Thursday when a sentencing hearing resumes in the shooting death of former New Orleans Saints star Will Smith.
A tearful Racquel sometimes aimed angry words at Hayes, who sat quietly, watching her testimony.
Judge Camille Buras denied a new trial for Hayes on Wednesday and is expected to impose a sentence no later than Friday.
Smith, a defensive end for the Saints from 2004 to 2013, was killed in a traffic altercation in April 2016 in the Lower Garden District of New Orleans, which involved his Mercedes rear-ending Hayes' Hummer. He was also sentenced to 15 years for attempted manslaughter.
Coach Sean Payton also testified, talking at length of Smith's passion for his team and family. I pray for the other families of New Orleans that are dealing with the same tragedy that comes with the loss of life at the hands of senseless violence.
They were never addressed during Hayes' trial, but they came up during his sentencing hearing, with relatives explaining how his father's death was traumatic for him. That would include the maximum 40 years for Hayes' manslaughter conviction, followed by another 20 for attempted manslaughter in the wounding of Smith's wife. She presided over the trial and is familiar with all the issues raised in pre-hearing motions and a pre-sentence report she ordered.
Hayes shot Smith to death in April 2016 during a traffic dispute.
Michael Burnside was called by lawyers for Cardell Hayes, convicted of manslaughter a year ago in Smith's death.
Facing criticism about the allegations during Hayes' trial in December, Fuller said he merely referred to claims about Ceravolo that were reported to Hayes' legal team while it was gathering evidence to defend a client.
Fuller said he did not discuss the sentence's length with Hayes afterward.