Cardell Hayes Found Guilty of Manslaughter in Retrial for Killing Former Saints Player Will Smith

Cardell Hayes has been found guilty of manslaughter in the retrial for the killing of former New Orleans Saints defensive end, Will Smith. The jury’s decision comes after a long and emotionally charged legal battle that has spanned over four years.

Hayes, who shot and killed Smith in April 2016, was initially convicted of manslaughter and sentenced to 25 years in prison. However, the Supreme Court overturned the conviction in 2020, citing the non-unanimous jury vote of 10-2. This ruling granted Hayes his freedom while awaiting a new trial.

The trial brought back painful memories for Racquel Smith, Will Smith’s wife, who was also shot and injured during the incident. In a heartfelt statement, she expressed the toll the legal proceedings have taken on her family and her hope that Hayes would take responsibility for his actions.

“Each time we stepped into this courthouse, we were forced to relive the worst moments of our lives,” Racquel Smith said. “As hard as it was to sit and listen to autopsy reports and untruths about the night Will was killed, and I was shot, we came each day brave and strong because we were fighting for Will. I can look my children in the eyes and tell them that I gave everything in pursuit of justice on behalf of Will.”

Following the guilty verdict, Hayes was taken into custody and now awaits sentencing. The maximum sentence for manslaughter in Louisiana is 40 years in prison. The outcome of the trial brings some closure to the tragic loss of Will Smith, a beloved figure in the New Orleans community.

Will Smith, a first-round draft pick of the Saints in 2004, was not only a talented player but also a member of the team’s Super Bowl XLIV-winning roster. His contributions to the Saints’ success earned him a place in their Hall of Fame.

As the legal process nears its conclusion, the New Orleans community reflects on the impact of this case and the importance of seeking justice for victims of violent crimes. The trial has shed light on the complexities of self-defense claims and the need for a fair and unanimous verdict in such cases.

The sentencing of Cardell Hayes will mark the final chapter in this tragic story, providing closure for the Smith family and the New Orleans community as they continue to remember and honor the legacy of Will Smith.


Author: CrimeDoor

2 Responses

  1. This is absolutely outrageous! How can someone be found guilty of manslaughter for the senseless killing of a former NFL player? Will Smith’s life was taken away in a brutal act of violence, and yet the perpetrator is only being charged with manslaughter? This is a complete miscarriage of justice.

    Will Smith was not just a football player, he was a beloved member of the New Orleans community. He had a family, friends, and fans who looked up to him. His death has left a void that

  2. I’m glad to see that justice has been served in the retrial of Cardell Hayes for the killing of Will Smith. It’s a tragic incident that shook the sports community and the city of New Orleans. However, I’m curious to know what the author thinks about the overall issue of violence in professional sports and the responsibility of athletes to maintain a positive image both on and off the field. Do they believe that incidents like this reflect a larger problem within the sports industry, or is it simply an

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