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Defense investigator delivers dramatic testimony in Will Smith murder investigation

Will Smith poses with friends shortly before he was killed in the Lower Garden District. (Source: Instagram) Will Smith poses with friends shortly before he was killed in the Lower Garden District. (Source: Instagram)
NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) -

During what was already a dramatic day at Orleans Criminal District Court, testimony from a private investigator seemed to implicate retired NOPD Officer William Ceravolo.

“The testimony was according to David Olinsky, who interviewed a witness that I’m aware of. That witness identified a man that removed a gun from the G-wagon and that man was William Ceravolo,” attorney John Fuller said.

“Those comments of allegations, if you want to call them that, were made by a witness who was paid by either the defendant or the defense attorney. That man didn’t claim to witness anything,” Tonya Picou-Faia said.

Ceravolo’s attorney denied her client did anything wrong, and said the testimony was an unsurprising allegation.

“I think Mr. Fuller’s been writing this script. I think it was very predictable that that allegation was going to be made,” Picou-Faia said.

The private investigator only made the one statement about Ceravolo on the stand before a Grand Jury indicted Cardell Hayes, which forced the hearing to stop.

“That was a major piece of information that we are going to see again because it goes to the defense’s theory that a gun was involved in the possession of Will Smith,” legal analyst Joe Raspanti said.

Raspanti said Fuller had pushed for the hearing to be able to hear the testimony of some people who may not be able to testify during the trial.

“At a trial, you can’t have hearsay, so you can’t say this person told me that they saw something. That person, themselves, have to come in and saw I saw something occur. They have to be subject to cross examination. You have to have the person sitting there. Now, there are exceptions to hearsay but this is not one of them,” Raspanti said.

Fuller called the investigator’s testimony a huge deal, and then indicated he has other witnesses who are willing to take the stand themselves in the future.

“There are five other witnesses, and certainly you’ll hear from them during the course of the trial,” Fuller said.

“As the end of the day, it got up to Section H of court, where it’s allotted. Now we know what the dates are going forward. Let’s see if this thing can get on track and be less about the noise and more about the facts,” Raspanti said.

Hayes pleaded not guilty to a four count indictment. He remains in jail on a $1.75 million bond.

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    New Orleans Saints defensive end Will Smith (91) celebrates after pressuring Indianapolis Colts quarterback Curtis Painter on Oct. 23, 2011. (AP Photo/Jonathan Bachman)New Orleans Saints defensive end Will Smith (91) celebrates after pressuring Indianapolis Colts quarterback Curtis Painter on Oct. 23, 2011. (AP Photo/Jonathan Bachman)

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