After five hours of deliberations, a New Orleans jury has convicted Cardell Hayes of manslaughter and attempted manslaughter after a shooting in April that left former Saints star Will Smith dead and Smith’s wife Racquel Smith hospitalized.
Hayes testified yesterday, telling the jury Smith attacked him after an auto accident—one that, a crash reconstruction expert testified, was followed by Hayes’s car intentionally ramming Smith’s SUV. Hayes also claimed on the stand that he believed Smith had fired his gun initially; police found Smith’s handgun holstered and between the driver’s seat and center console.
Hayes was facing charges of murder, attempted murder, and criminal damage. The jury elected to reduce those charges to manslaughter and acquitted him of the criminal damage charge. Hayes faces up to 40 years in prison on the manslaughter conviction.