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Former Ohio State player's killer sentenced to 25 years in prison
21 April 2017, 02:46 | Marion Schneider
His words began the second day of testimony in his sentencing hearing, a morning punctuated by highly-emotional testimony from Hayes' mother who pleaded with the court to lock her up instead.
Payton disclosed that he had planned for Smith to coach the Saints' defensive line in 2016.
On the witness stand, Burnside said he heard two guns fired the night former Saints player Will Smith was shot and killed and his wife Raquel shot and injured in a road rage incident. Prosecutors have suggested the maximum 60 years. The defense has noted the absence of any serious criminal record and has said Hayes feared for his life when he encountered a drunken, belligerent Smith in a traffic dispute previous year.
"The judge sentenced him to 25 years on the manslaughter charge and 15 years on the attempted manslaughter charge, but the sentences run concurrently".
But New Orleans District Attorney Leon Cannizzaro soon made it clear he believes Hayes deserves a 60-year sentence. Formal sentencing is expected later this week. She accused him of lying to support a more lenient sentence.
It's been over a year since the tragic shooting of former New Orleans Saints defensive end Will Smith.
"That man is certifiably insane".
Appearing in court with wild mane of hair and a bushy beard, Burnside appeared near tears at times and twice let slip a profanity.
Defense attorney John Fuller sharply criticized that characterization. "It is very apparent", he told the judge after Burnside left the stand.
A prosecutor is poking holes in the testimony of a new witness in the killing of retired New Orleans Saints star Will Smith.
Michael Burnside testified he heard "baps" and "booms" in describing what he thought was two different weapons being fired.
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Assistant District Attorney Jason Napoli noted that Burnside - who said he doesn't own a clock or a calendar - couldn't be certain of the time and date of the shooting he heard.
Dawn Mumphrey also begged for the Smiths to forgive her son, 29-year-old Cardell Hayes, as she testified at a pre-sentence hearing Thursday.
Witness Michael Burnside took the stand in a weird retelling of the alleged events that's led to Will Smiths death last April. In fact, there was another shooting in the same area about 45 minutes before Smith was killed, Napoli said. He heard a series of "baps" from a low-recoil weapon, then a series of at least eight "booms" from a larger weapon.
He didn't witness Smith's killing and said he didn't realize the sounds could be related to Smith's death until reading newspaper accounts.
Hayes is again insisting that he acted in self-defense as Smith fired a gun at him, despite evidence to the contrary at trial.
New Orleans Saints coach Sean Payton took a front row seat alongside Smith's family and friends for Wednesday's hearings.
Hayes, who was convicted of manslaughter and attempted manslaughter, insisted at trial that he shot in self-defense. She presided over the trial and is familiar with all the issues raised in pre-hearing motions and a pre-sentence report she ordered.
Hayes said he armed himself only after he and his own passenger were accosted by Smith and Richard Hernandez, a passenger in Smith's Mercedes. The records don't spell out what the evidence is.
Judge Camille Buras is expected to sentence Hayes no later than Friday. It was unclear whether the motion might lead to a sentencing delay.
A jury convicted him of manslaughter and attempted manslaughter for shooting Smith's wife in the leg.
Hayes was convicted in December.
Emotion quickly overcame Hayes' mother, who said she would do anything to undo that night last April.
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