NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) - Prosecutors and defense lawyers met with potential jurors Monday afternoon in the trial surrounding the shooting death of former Saint Will Smith. Smith's wife, Racquel, was also shot during the incident, but survived.
The man accused of shooting the Smiths, Cardell Hayes, has been locked up since April 9, when the incident took place. Hayes' attorney claims that his client acted in self-defense.
Prosecutors talked with the potential jurors and told them that the recent shooting incident that claimed the life of former NFL player Joe McKnight has nothing to do with the Hayes case. They also discussed the Stand Your Ground law with the potential jurors and what could be considered "self-defense".
They then asked the potential jurors about any conflicts that they may have with sequestration, or if they have any scheduled surgeries or hardships.
A few jurors said that due to the extensive coverage of the incident, they have already formed opinions on the Hayes case. Judge Camille Buras reminded the jurors that it is okay to form an opinion prior to the trial, but she asked them to focus on the evidence in the trial. One juror said it's almost impossible to erase from the brain what you've already decided, and he would need good evidence to change his mind.
After allowing the prosecutors time to speak with the potential jurors, it was the defense's turn. Defense attorney John Fuller started out making a point by asking the jurors about forming opinions.
Fuller also spoke with them about circumstantial evidence, discussing credible witnesses, and how alcohol might play a part in the testimony. He also asked if any of the potential jurors couldn't be fair to Hayes because of Smith's celebrity as a former Saint.
The defense also asked how the potential jurors felt about gun ownership. Fuller asked if everyone who is not a convicted felon should be allowed to have a gun. In addition, he also discussed intent and the difference between attempted murder, manslaughter and negligent injury.
Eleven jurors were picked by late Monday evening.