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Preliminary hearing, possible grand jury indictment today for Cardell Hayes

28-year-old Cardell Hayes, accused of shooting and killing former Saints defensive end Will Smith. (Source; OPSO) 28-year-old Cardell Hayes, accused of shooting and killing former Saints defensive end Will Smith. (Source; OPSO)
NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) -

Attorneys representing the man accused of killing former Saints player Will Smith have subpoenaed 10 people to testify in this case.

Pierre Thomas and New Orleans Police Department reserve officer William Ceravolo are among those subpoenaed.

Both dined with Smith the night he was shot and killed.

During the preliminary hearing prosecutors will have to put up enough evidence to prove there's probable cause to hold suspect Cardell Hayes before trial. It also gives the defense team a chance to examine the evidence against Hayes.

District Attorney Leon Cannizzaro has filed an appeal to stop Thursday's hearing. Cannizzaro claims Magistrate Court Judge Harry Cantrell does not have the authority to hear the case. The DA says it should be a bond commissioner.

The writ, filed with the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals, was denied, according to the defense team.

In a separate development, Hayes' attorney John Fuller has filed a motion asking for a bond reduction. He is looking to have Hayes' bond reduced from the current $1 million.

However, this hearing, though, may not happen if a grand jury indicts Hayes before it can begin.

Legal analyst Joe Raspanti says the district attorney is hoping the grand jury returns an indictment soon.

“The DA never wants a preliminary hearing to take place especially on a case that has to go before a grand jury and by law this case does because it's a second degree murder arrest,” Raspanti said. “They met once, I'm going to assume they'll meet again Thursday morning and it's going to be a race to the court house."

If the grand jury is meeting about the Will Smith shooting case it will only have a few hours to indict Hayes before this preliminary hearing begins.

The grand jury, though, meets in secret so no one really knows if they'll even discuss the Smith case today.

Cannizzaro confirmed to Fox 8's Greg Adaline that the grand jury did meet but offered no new details on whether an indictment is forthcoming.

This story has garnered national attention. A packed courtroom is expected as defense attorneys and prosecutors question witnesses and present evidence to the magistrate judge.

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