Racquel Smith leaves courtroom crying during Friday testimony

The prosecution rests, defense makes its case in Cardell Hayes trial

NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - Emotions ran high during the fifth day in court at the trial of Cardell Hayes, accused of murdering former Saints player Will Smith.

Racquel Smith left the courtroom crying Friday while the jury saw photos of her husband after he was shot. She arrived at court about 15 minutes before the start of the trial.

The first witness called to the stand was a pathologist who performed the autopsy on Will Smith after he was killed. During her testimony, the jury was shown photos of Will Smith's body, which elicited reaction from some of the members.

Raquel Smith broke down when the pathologist revealed that one of the bullet wounds would have paralyzed him from the waist down. Her family helped lead her out of the courtroom at that point.

Also on the stand, the vehicle crash expert Mike Sunseri, who investigated the wreck between Hayes and Will Smith on Sophie B. Wright.

Sunseri who has testified at nearly 60 trials, said that every vehicle has a crash data recording.

Sunseri said data from Hayes' Hummer shows the vehicle was coasting at 17 mph at the time of the accident.

"It doesn't look like he tried to avoid impact," Sunseri said. "It has all the markings of an intentional crash, yes."

Sunseri testified of Hayes' actions behind the wheel before the wreck.

"He's not on the gas or the brake. He's just coasting," Sunseri said.

That wreck initiated the confrontation between Hayes and Will Smith.

Retired New Orleans Police Captain William Cerevolo, who the defense has accused of tampering with evidence, took the stand, recounting the initial hours after Smith was shot.

Cerevolo testified he had known Smith since 2007 and that they socialized an average of once or twice a month.

Cerevolo said he learned Smith was shot when he received a call from Pierre Thomas.

"I received a call from Pierre Thomas. He said, 'cap Will's dead and Racquel' shot," Cerevolo testified.

Cerevolo said he thought Thomas was joking at first.

"When I turned off Camp, I turned and saw the lights flashing and I think at that point I knew it was real," Cerevolo said.

Napoli asked Cerevolo if he removed a gun from Will Smith's Mercedes.

"I did not," Cerevolo said.

John Fuller, Hayes' attorney who has accused Cerevolo of evidence tampering, asked Cerevolo if he knew what a "fixer" is.

"No sir," Cerevolo said.

"So you're not a fixer, right?" Fuller asked.

"No sir," Cerevolo responded.

Fuller asked if Will Smith was too drunk to drive.

"I could not see," Cerevolo said.

"If someone drove three times over the legal limit to drive, they would be committing a crime, right?" Fuller asked.

"Yes," Cerevolo said.

Racquel Smith eventually re-entered the courtroom after testimony of Will Smith's autopsy.

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