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Hearing could mean bail, release for man who shot ex-Saints star Will Smith

10 months 6 days 6 hours ago Thursday, March 18 2021 Mar 18, 2021 March 18, 2021 6:41 AM March 18, 2021 in News
Source: Associated Press
Cardell Hayes

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — A bond hearing was scheduled Thursday for the man who fatally shot ex-NFL star Will Smith in New Orleans in 2016 following a confrontation over a traffic crash.

Cardell Hayes was sentenced to 25 years in prison for a manslaughter conviction in Smith’s shooting and attempted manslaughter for wounding Smith’s wife. But the verdict from the jury was not unanimous — jurors voted 10-2 — and has since been ruled unconstitutional.

Hayes insisted at trial that he shot Smith in self-defense during a confrontation over a traffic crash. But he was the only trial witness to say Smith held a gun or fired it. A handgun was found loaded but unused in Smith’s car.

Hayes hasn’t been free since his arrest. He could get a much lower bond than the $1.75 million set for him in 2016, when charges against him included second-degree murder and attempted second-degree murder. First Assistant District Attorney Robert White said at a hearing March 4 that prosecutors would seek bond based on the manslaughter and attempted manslaughter charges that the jury returned.

At that hearing, Judge Camille Buras delayed an immediate bond ruling, noting questions on whether Hayes could legally be tried on a second-degree murder charge after the first jury came back with a lesser verdict.

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