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21 April 2017, 02:49 | Gladys Abbott
Payton said he had planned for Smith to coach the Saints defensive line in 2016.
Hayes and Smith were involved in a traffic-related altercation on April 9, 2016, when Hayes got out of his auto and discharged a firearm into Smith's vehicle. In December, Hayes was found guilty of manslaughter and on Thursday, he found out his punishment. He had faced up to 60 years if the maximum sentences were to be served consecutively.
Hayes claimed self-defense, but no other witness or evidence supported his belief that Smith was firing at him.
Louisiana district Judge Camille Buras sentenced 29-year-old Cardell Hayes to 25 years for manslaughter and 15 for attempted manslaughter.
But New Orleans District Attorney Leon Cannizzaro soon made it clear he believes Hayes deserves a 60-year sentence.
Racquel Smith also became tearful, and expressed her bitterness the day before as she stared down the man who shot her in the legs and repeatedly fired into her husband's back. She accused him of lying to support a more lenient sentence.
A defense attorney for the man sentenced to 25 years for killing retired New Orleans Saints star Will Smith says the sentence at least gives him a chance to be reunited with his family one day. During trial, Smith was hailed as not just a football star but as a community leader who loved New Orleans so much he chose it as his home after his retirement.
The ruling clears the way for the sentencing of Cardell Hayes later this week.
Hayes faces up to 60 years in prison for manslaughter and attempted manslaughter after shooting Smith and wounding Smith's wife, Raquel, during a dispute over traffic.
A prosecutor is calling a newly found defense witness in the killing of former New Orleans Saints star Will Smith "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.
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. "It is very apparent", he told the judge after Burnside left the stand.
He testified that he heard "baps" from a smaller weapon, then "booms" from a larger one.
Assistant District Attorney Jason Napoli said a shooting happened in the same area about 45 minutes before Smith was fatally shot and said it would be impossible for Burnside, who does not even own a clock or a calendar, to say for certain at exactly what time he heard the shots. He insisted he was afraid for his life as Smith fired a gun at him, despite trial evidence and witness testimony indicating Smith never handled or fired his gun.
Wednesday's testimony veered into the weird as the defense called a man who claimed to hear the sounds of two different guns, the night Smith was shot in the Lower Garden District.
Burnside called himself a "coward" for not coming forward immediately as a witness, but said he didn't realize the sounds he heard were related to Smith's death until he read about the shooting in the newspaper later on. While we know nothing will ever bring Will back, we were hopeful that Judge Buras would have issued a stronger sentence to more justly reflect both the nature of the crimes and the tremendous loss and pain that my family has suffered as a result of Mr. Hayes' violent actions on the night of April 9, 2016.
Burnside, in his 50s, testified that he was at his home, near the site of the shooting, when Smith was killed. "There were four baps before there were eight booms", he said.
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