June 15, 2024

In the shooting death of former NFL defensive end Will Smith, which happened in April 2016, during an incident following a car crash in New Orleans, a man has been found guilty.

Several outlets reported that a jury on Saturday morning found Cardell Hayes guilty of manslaughter. According to ABC News, Hayes—who may spend as much as 40 years in prison—was found not guilty of attempting manslaughter in connection with the shooting wounds suffered by Smith’s wife, Racquel Smith.

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According to the Associated Press, Hayes, 36, was previously found guilty of the offence in December 2016, but his conviction was reversed when the U.S. Supreme Court banned nonunanimous convictions. Hayes was found guilty of attempting manslaughter in the first trial for Smith’s wife’s gunshot wounds. Hayes was in service

According to a 2016 news release from the New Orleans Police Department, which PEOPLE has previously reported, the confrontation between Hayes and the 34-year-old New Orleans Saints player started when Smith rear-ended Hayes’ vehicle with his Hummer close to the junction of Sophie Wright Place and Felicity Street.

Following the collision, the two men allegedly “exchanged words,” and Hayes, then 28 years old, “produced a handgun and shot Smith multiple times.” Racquel was shot in the right leg, according to the police.

According to Hayes’ defence, Smith shot Hayes because he feared for his life and was defending himself. According to the AP, there was proof that Smith was up to three times the legal limit when he got into the fight, but there was also no proof that he was carrying a weapon.
In his closing remarks, District Attorney Jason Williams stated, “One gun was fired by one man,” according to the site.

“Each time we stepped into this courthouse, we were forced to relive the worst moments of our lives,” it said. “We came each day brave and strong because we were fighting for Will, even though it was difficult to sit and listen to autopsy findings and lies about the night Will was killed and I was shot. I can tell my kids, looking them in the eyes, that I gave everything I had to seek justice for Will.”

three-time father After Hurricane Katrina destroyed the city in 2005, Smith played with the Saints from 2004 to 2013, helping his old team have a winning season in 2006. He was a member of the squad when the Saints won the Super Bowl in 2010.

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