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Killer of NFL's Will Smith gets 25 years for manslaughter
21 April 2017, 01:55 | Marion Schneider
Killer of NFL's Will Smith gets 25 years for manslaughter
The man who killed retired New Orleans Saints star Will Smith and wounded his wife during a traffic dispute last year, has been sentenced to 25 years in prison.
But then New Orleans District Attorney Leon Cannizzaro said Hayes, 29, deserves a 60-year sentence: the maximum 40 years for manslaughter in Smith's death, followed by another 20 for attempted manslaughter for wounding Smith's wife, Racquel. Those sentences will be served concurrently, amounting to 25 years in prison.
Buras said the sentences will be served concurrently, and Hayes will receive credit for time served. Judge Buras said a sentence any less than that would deprecate the seriousness of the offense.
At the end, neither side was totally satisfied, though Hayes' attorney John Fuller said, "it could have been worse". Hayes is to be sentenced Thursday at 3:15 p.m. "There are no winners here today", her statement said.
The 29-year-old owner of a tow-truck business could be sentenced to 60 years for fatally shooting Smith and wounding Smith's wife in a confrontation after a traffic crash last year.
Hayes filed a lawsuit in state court on April 10 in which he says after he accidentally hit Smith's Mercedes SUV with his Hummer, the former National Football League player threw a drink in his face, punched him, and then pulled a gun. "Being away from my son for 60 years, what's the difference from being dead?" "Lock me up and give me my son back". Dawn Mumphrey, Hayes' mother, begged.
The judge had been expected to announce the sentence Friday, but defense attorney John Fuller said he expects Cardell Hayes will learn his fate Thursday afternoon.
Smith was cast during the trial not only as a football hero - part of the Saints team that lifted the stricken city's spirits after Hurricane Katrina in 2005, and the one that won a Super Bowl in 2010 - but also a beloved community leader who settled in New Orleans after retirement.
Hayes, who killed Smith with repeated shots from his.45-caliber handgun, has insisted that he fired in self-defense, but evidence at trial showed Smith's loaded.9-mm semi-automatic handgun was found unused inside Smith's auto.
Smith's widow, Racquel, and other loved ones took the stand Wednesday and tearfully aimed bitter remarks at her husband's killer, Cardell Hayes.
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"I did not stand over Will and pump seven shots into his back like you said", Hayes told Napoli. I can say it a million times.
Racquel Smith filed one against Hayes, and Richard Hernandez, a passenger in Smith's vehicle that night, sued both Smith and Hayes, accusing both of aggressiveness and drunkenness, and seeking damages for personal injuries.
Looking at the Smith family, Hayes, who played semi-professional football, said he looked up to Smith. Their ability to convey the facts of the case while also caring so deeply about justice for Will and my family is something I will never forget. But they said he did nothing to provoke the shooting.
"If I didn't take responsibility for what happened, I would've ran".
"I'm not proud of it at all since I have to come up here in shackles like an animal", he said.
"All I'm asking for is something I should've have the audacity for - for my ball player, that you give him mercy".
That was the same request from Hayes' mother, whose uncontrollable sobbing led to a brief recess while she composed herself.
She began by telling the court she wanted Hayes to be "something other than just hanging on the street, and he was".
Hayes' lawsuit said Smith's blood tested almost two times the legal limit for alcohol.
Hayes appeared to have caught something of a break at his December trial when a jury rejected the prosecution's push for a second-degree murder verdict, which would have meant mandatory life in prison. And with tears and anger, she lashed out at the man who shot her and killed her husband during a traffic dispute a year ago.
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