Carnell hayes

Cardell Hayes Found Guilty of Manslaughter in Killing of Former Saints DE Will Smith

A jury found Cardell Hayes guilty of manslaughter for the 2016 death of former New Orleans Saints defensive end Will Smith.

The New Orleans Times-Picayune reported that the jury returned the verdict Saturday.

Hayes, 36, faces up to 40 years in prison. The jury acquitted him on charges of attempted manslaughter for allegedly shooting and injuring Smith’s wife, Racquel.

Smith was fatally shot at the scene of a car crash on April 9, 2016 when an incident transpired where  Smith lightly rear-ended Hayes’ vehicle.

Surveillance footage capturer Hayes pulling his car over in an attempt to sort things out:

“Instead, Smith drove off, perhaps because he had a blood alcohol level of 0.24, triple the legal limit.

“Hayes, who was sober, followed in pursuit, eventually smashing into Smith’s car. Both men and their companions got out. Chaos ensued. Fists flew. Hayes said he believed Smith was headed back to his car to get a firearm, so he unloaded his gun into the retired player. Smith’s wife, Racquel, was also struck and faced lengthy rehab.”

Hayes was originally charged with second-degree murder and attempted second-degree murder, but a jury was split, resulting in lesser charges of manslaughter and attempted manslaughter in December 2016.

Hayes’ original conviction was thrown out when the United States Supreme Court ruled that non-unanimous jury verdicts were outlawed, and he was then released on bond four years into a 25-year prison sentence.

During the trial this week, nearly a dozen witnesses testified to support claims that Hayes intentionally hit Smith’s SUV, which led to the argument and shooting,

Smith played 10 seasons in the NFL from 2004 to ’13. He was a member of the Saints’ team.

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Crystal Gross
Crystal joined BallerAlert in 2020 to renew her passion for writing. She is a Kentucky native who now lives in the heart of Atlanta. She enjoys reading, politics, traveling, and of course writing.

About Crystal Gross

Crystal joined BallerAlert in 2020 to renew her passion for writing. She is a Kentucky native who now lives in the heart of Atlanta. She enjoys reading, politics, traveling, and of course writing.

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