Cardell Hayes sentenced to 25 years for Will Smith killing
Twenty-nine-year-old Cardell Hayes faces up to 60 years in prison for manslaughter for shooting Smith to death last year, and attempted manslaughter for the wounding of Smith's wife.
"With 25 years, Fuller said ". he has the opportunity to be reunited with his family".
The defense has noted the absence of any serious criminal record and has said Hayes, the father of a 6-year-old son who owns a tow truck business, feared for his life when he encountered a drunken and angry Smith in the traffic dispute. Hayes is to be sentenced Thursday at 3:15 p.m. There are no winners here today. "Lock me up and give me my son back". She praised prosecutors and police, and said she and their three children, Willie, Lisa and Wynter, will carry on Smith's legacy of love for his community. Prosecutors want the maximums, served consecutively, for a total of 60 years.
Jurors heard that Hayes's Hummer had rear-ended Smith's Mercedes SUV that night, shortly after the SUV appeared to have tapped the rear of Hayes's auto.
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. Smith's gun was found in his auto, loaded but unused.
A prosecutor is calling for maximum punishment for the killer of New Orleans Saints star Will Smith.
Michael Burnside, 53, testified in often rambling fashion Wednesday morning before Judge Buras as part of Fuller's effort to secure a new trial for his client. He also acknowledged that he didn't witness the killing, and the prosecutor poked other holes in his testimony.
Smith, a former Saints player and one of the stars on the team, played in the year following Hurricane Katrina in 2005, as well as in 2010 when the team went to the Super Bowl for the first time in its history and won. Daniel is urging the judge to give less than the minimum if she feels it's excessive.
For all the expected emotion, legal experts say there is little chance Buras will be influenced by either side. Hayes could get up to 60 years if sentenced to consecutive terms for manslaughter in Smith's death and attempted manslaughter for wounding Smith's wife.
"Just because people are different from you, doesn't make them liars", countered defense attorney John Fuller.
Testimony ahead of the sentence has been emotional. Hayes insisted he fired in self-defense, but apologized to the Smith family.
Hayes' mother, Dawn Mumphrey, later took the stand.
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Hayes, 29, will get a year of credit for the time he's already served since shooting one of the city's sports heroes in April 2016.
That was the same request from Hayes' mother, whose uncontrollable sobbing led to a brief recess while she composed herself. Smith died in the traffic dispute in April 2016.
"The motion for a new trial is based on the supposition that injustice has been shown to the defendant", Criminal District Judge Camille Buras said Wednesday.
Hayes said he armed himself only after he and his own passenger were accosted by Smith and Richard Hernandez, a passenger in Smith's Mercedes.
Hayes faces up to 60 years in prison for manslaughter and attempted manslaughter after killing Will Smith and wounding Racquel in a confrontation that began when the Smith's vehicle apparently bumped his Humvee in traffic.
Hayes 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.
He looked at Racquel Smith and told her he wished the night had never happened. The motion is expected to be argued Wednesday, the same day Hayes is scheduled to be sentenced.
The sentencing hearing continues at 11 a.m.in criminal court.
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.
Following trial in December, a Jury declined to slap Hayes with a verdict of second-degree murder, which would have meant a mandatory life in prison. But he was convicted of manslaughter and attempted manslaughter.
His family and friends were in the courtroom Wednesday and some may be called to the stand Thursday to support Hayes. "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".
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