Analyst: Holidays may make jury tough to seat in Will Smith murder case

Analyst: Holidays may make jury tough to seat in Will Smith murder case

NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) - In less than a week, a murder trial begins for Cardell Hayes, the man accused of killing former Saint Will Smith. But with the holidays right around the corner, there is concern about the court's ability to pick a sequestered jury.

Finding an Orleans Parish resident who hasn't heard of Smith or his shooting death this past April, may pose a challenge.

"What you say is, have you drawn a conclusion, and can you be fair?" said FOX 8 legal analyst Joe Raspanti.

Raspanti thinks prosecutors and the defense have an even bigger hurdle to climb.

"This case, at this time, with this sequestration order brings certain problems that you don't normally see in a regular case in any courtroom," he said.

Just a few weeks before Christmas, Raspanti thinks the court will be hard-pressed to find enough jurors who don't have any commitments - meaning they'd be willing to give up a week of their time to stay in a hotel, away from their families, while the case is heard.

"That's gonna make things difficult to get a jury picked," Raspanti said.

Cardell Hayes faces charges of second-degree murder and attempted second-degree murder for the April 9 shooting. Police said he and Smith got into a car accident that escalated and ended with Smith being killed and his wife, Raquel, shot.

Hayes' attorney said his client acted in self-defense.

"Not only did my client feel threatened, but citizens that were out there in that block felt threatened, as well," said attorney John Fuller.

With the trial date already moved back once, both sides want to see this Dec. 5 date stick.

Raspanti said he thinks that if a jury is successfully picked, it likely won't happen in just one day.

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