Attorney: 25 years means Hayes may see family

They said Hayes shot another round through Racquel Smith's legs, then advanced to quickly fire seven more times into the former National Football League star's back.

Christopher Bowman, a spokesman for the prosecutor's office, would say only that "the district attorney and the Smith family are disappointed with the sentence". And later, after again insisting that he acted in self-defense as Smith fired a gun at him, despite trial evidence to the contrary, he referred to the Smith family, saying, "I apologize for their loss".

Prosecutor Jason Napoli enters the Orleans Parish criminal courthouse for a sentencing hearing for Cardell Hayes, who was convicted of manslaughter in the shooting death of former New Orleans Saints star Will Smith, in New Orleans, Wednesday, April 19, 2017. Judge Buras dismissed the motion.

Martin, who also serves as a minister at the Orleans Parish jail, learned of Hayes arrest when Hayes tapped Martin's shoulder while he led a Bible study session inside the jail.

The testimony comes a day after Racquel Smith, Saints Head Coach Sean Payton and others told the court about the impact of Will Smith's death and Racquel Smith's injuries. And Hayes' mother pleaded through her tears for mercy for her son. The "sentencing does not bring back Will and leaves another child, (Hayes' son), to grow up without a father".

Smith spent nine years in the National Football League, most of which were spent with the New Orleans Saints from 2004-13.

Hayes' mother, Dawn Mumphrey, later took the stand. That's the most offensive part of this entire process, " Rodrigue added.

During his testimony Thursday morning, Hayes wept and reiterated the argument made at trial that he was acting in self-defense when he shot Smith.

"Not at one time does he come forward to this court, to the jury and say: I'm sorry", prosecutors said in their closing statements. Hayes has never conceded that he shot Racquel Smith. Hayes also was convicted of attempted manslaughter for shooting and injuring Racquel Smith.

Hayes, 29, could be sentenced to 60 years for fatally shooting Smith and wounding Racquel Smith in a confrontation after a traffic crash last year.

The defensive end had 13 sacks in 2009, when the Saints went on to win the Super Bowl.

Payton testified Wednesday that had Smith survived, he would have hired him as an assistant.

The defence noted that Hayes owned a business towing cars and lacked any prior record of serious crimes.

Jurors heard at trial 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 vehicle.

Thomas was in a vehicle ahead of the Smiths when he heard the crash, went back toward the collision, and arrived in time to see his former teammate gunned down, according to testimony.

Smith was hit eight times - seven in the back and once in the side. Hayes shot Racquel twice in the leg.

A pathologist determined Smith was legally drunk, after spending time at the city's annual French Quarter Festival, a bar and two restaurants.

  • Leroy Wright