Back in early April, former New Orleans Saints defensive end Will Smith was tragically shot to death. On Sunday, Cardell Hayes, the man charged in the crime of shooting Smith, was found guilty of manslaughter.
BREAKING: Man who killed ex-New Orleans Saints star Will Smith is found guilty of manslaughter.
— The Associated Press (@AP) December 12, 2016
Cardell Hayes: Not guilty of criminal damage. Guilty of attempted manslaughter. Guilty of manslaughter.
— Ramon Antonio Vargas (@RVargasAdvocate) December 12, 2016
The trial took place over the last week, and the decision was made on Sunday by a 12-member jury that ruled against Cardell Hayes’ claim that he was acting in self-defense, according to Yahoo!
Hayes, 29, faces 20-40 years in prison after shooting and killing Smith in an incident that occurred on April 9th. He never denied shooting and killing Smith either, but instead claimed he feared for his safety after Smith and two people Smith was with approached Hayes and a friend.
Witnesses that spoke at the trial said they saw a verbal altercation and chaos at the scene. Later Hayes alleged he was punched four or five times by Smith, said he heard Smith was getting a gun out of his car, and then saw Smith with a gun.
Once Hayes claimed to see Smith with a gun, he opened fire and hit Smith eight times. Hayes also shot Smith’s wife, Racquel, in the legs. Racquel survived and later accepted Smith’s degree posthumously for an MBA program he was in at the University of Miami.
— New Orleans Saints (@Saints) May 6, 2016
The charge for attempted manslaughter that Hayes was found guilty for related to the shooting of Racquel.
Smith was 34 when he passed away and was a former defensive lineman and captain for the Saints. He was on the Saints team that won the Super Bowl in 2010, and played in New Orleans following Hurricane Katrina. Smith’s former coach, Sean Payton, was at the trial for the verdict on Sunday just hours after returning from the Saints’ game in Tampa.
Sean Payton has just showed up to court #WillSmithTrial
— Tyler R. Tynes (@TylerRickyTynes) December 12, 2016
Earlier during the trial, Drew Brees, Deuce McAllister, and Steve Gleason also showed up to support Smith.