Smiley face
Weather     Live Markets

Cardell Hayes was sentenced to 25 years in prison for the 2016 shooting death of retired NFL star Will Smith after a car crash in New Orleans. This was Hayes’ second sentencing in the case, as his previous conviction was overturned due to a non-unanimous jury verdict. In the new trial, Hayes was convicted by a unanimous jury in January. Despite the support Hayes received from friends and family, Judge Camille Buras noted that both Hayes and his companion were armed, while Smith was unarmed during the confrontation that led to the shooting. Smith was shot eight times, seven of which were in the back.

During the sentencing, Smith’s daughter, Lisa, spoke in court and expressed the impact of her father’s death on her life. She stated that Hayes had ruined her life by taking her father away from her. In contrast, Hayes’ mother, Dawn Mumphrey, expressed sorrow for Smith’s loss and asked for mercy from the judge. Hayes had maintained that he fired in self-defense, believing that Smith had retrieved a gun from his SUV. However, there was no evidence to support Hayes’ claim, and at the retrial, his defense attorney did not call him to testify.

After serving more than four years of his original sentence, Hayes was released on bond but taken back into custody following the January verdict. He had been awaiting sentencing at the New Orleans jail. The overturned convictions from the 2016 trial included an attempted manslaughter charge for the wounding of Racquel Smith, Will Smith’s wife. Hayes was acquitted of that charge at the second trial in January. Before the sentencing, Hayes’ family and friends gathered in prayer in the courthouse hallway.

Will Smith was a beloved figure in New Orleans, known for his leadership on the Saints football team and his contributions to the community after Hurricane Katrina. He played a key role in helping the team achieve a winning season in 2006 and a Super Bowl victory in 2010. Prior to his professional career, Smith was a standout player for Ohio State University, helping them win the national championship in 2002. His death in 2016 was a tragic loss that impacted many, including his family, teammates, and fans.

The sentencing of Cardell Hayes for the death of Will Smith brings closure to a long legal battle following the tragic events of 2016. The case highlighted the complexities of self-defense claims in confrontations involving firearms and the impact of violence on families and communities. While Hayes will serve his prison sentence, the scars of the incident will continue to affect those involved for years to come.

© 2024 Globe Echo. All Rights Reserved.