Killer of Former Saint Will Smith convicted of Manslaughter

Killer of Former Saint Will Smith convicted of Manslaughter

Cardell Hayes was convicted of manslaughter for shooting and killing former Saints defensive end Will Smith in 2016.

Hayes was found guilty of manslaughter but acquitted of attempted manslaughter for shooting and wounding Racquel Smith, Smith's wife.

Four years after Hayes was convicted of manslaughter in 2016 and sentenced to 25 years in prison, the Supreme Court reversed the judgment because the jury voted 10-2 and convictions must be unanimous. Hayes has been free for four years awaiting retrial.

Racquel Smith said the court processes have burdened her family and she hopes Hayes, who says he shot Smith in self-defense, would take responsibility.

"Each time we stepped into this courthouse, we were forced to relive the worst moments of our lives," stated. As painful as it was to sit and listen to autopsy findings and untruths about the night Will was killed and I was shot, we arrived each day courageous and strong to fight for Will. I can face my children in the eyes and tell them I sacrificed everything for Will's justice."

Hayes was arrested following the judgment and faces a 40-year jail sentence.

Smith, a 2004 Saints first-round choice, was a Pro Bowler, Super Bowl XLIV champion, and Hall of Famer.

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