Sports

Cardell Hayes sentenced for fatal shooting of former Saints star Will Smith

Cardell Hayes sentenced for fatal shooting of former Saints star Will Smith

Cardell Hayes, the man who murdered former New Orleans Saints star Will Smith during a traffic dispute, apologized to Smith's widow - Racquel Smith - in court on Thursday.

New Orleans Judge Camille Buras also sentenced the defendant, Cardell Hayes, to 15 years for shooting Smith's wife, Raquel Smith, in the legs during the same incident.

Smith's widow, Racquel Smith, said she was "extremely disappointed" at what she called the leniency of the sentence, given the violence of the crime and her family's pain and loss.

Fuller said he did not discuss the sentence's length with Hayes afterward. Faia also said that Ceravolo's private security business could have suffered if potential clients believed the allegations against him.

William "Billy" Ceravolo has ruled out filing a civil lawsuit over now-discredited allegations that he tampered with the crime scene after Will Smith's fatal shooting, claims that resulted in his suspension from a reserve officer's post.

The 29-year-old Hayes shot and killed Smith last April in New Orleans following a traffic dispute between the two men. The "sentencing does not bring back Will and leaves another child, (Hayes' son), to grow up without a father". Dawn Mumphrey, Hayes' mother, begged.

The judge rejected a motion to retry Hayes after the defense presented a new witness Wednesday who said he heard two weapons fired the night Smith was killed. Judge Buras denied that request, but allowed victim-impact statements to begin Wednesday.

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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.

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.

They were never addressed during Hayes' trial, but they came up during his sentencing hearing, with relatives explaining how his father's death was traumatic for him. Hayes then followed the Smiths and slammed into them.

"He's (Cardell Hayes) ready to accepting his sentence knowing that he told the truth ..."

"It's like I'm dead anyway", Hayes said. "I never said negative things about your family", Hayes said.

"If I didn't take responsibility for what happened, I would've ran. I tried to de-escalate the situation", Hayes said. Hayes has maintained that he believed Smith was armed when the two argued over a traffic dispute a year ago.

He remembered Hayes a student equally dedicated to excellence in the classroom and on the field.

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He ended his testimony with a request for Buras. He said he was asking him to breathe.

Thursday, Cardell Hayes, his mother, and the mother of his son testified.

She began by telling the court she wanted Hayes to be "something other than just hanging on the street, and he was".

"I'm definitely sorry for their loss".

Hayes testified that he looked up to Will Smith on the football field.

"Please, please have mercy in your heart", Mumphrey asked Buras. "I'm not here for my son".

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