Happening Today: Reaction to Cardell Hayes' conviction in Will Smith murder trial

Happening Today: Will Smith murder trial conviction

NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - Twelve jurors rejected the self-defense claims from the man convicted of fatally shooting former New Orleans Saints star Will Smith.

It took the jury five hours to reach a guilty verdict on a charge of manslaughter and attempted manslaughter.

In a vote of 10 to two, the jury in the case found Cardell Hayes guilty of killing Smith.

He was found not guilty on the charge of criminal damage: the jury concluded he did not intentionally damage Smith's SUV just before the shooting.

As Fox8 Legal Analyst Joe Raspanti says, the jury took its time but came to a thoughtful decision.

"Very good job done by the jury," Raspanti said. "I think by their questions and their actions and by their attentiveness it showed that they got it, they understood, and I think they came back with the verdict that most appropriately fit what occurred."

"This is our system at work, and it does work, and for people that make fun of it these are one of the days that shows you, it's real hard, it's making the sausage, but we got to see up close, and that's why we do it this way, it does work," Raspanti said.

Hayes could face up to 40 years in prison. He will be sentenced February 17.

Assistant District Attorneys Jason Napoli and Laura Rodrigue appeared pleased with the verdict as they left the courtroom.

A statement released by Orleans Parish District Attorney Leon Cannizzaro called the verdict "a victory for the Smith family as well as the citizens of New Orleans."

Hayes' attorney John Fuller said all families involved with the case should be in everyone's prayers.

"Continue to pray for all families and continue to pray not just for them going forward, but continue to pray for their healing in this terrible time, for the Smith family, and for Cardell's family," Fuller said.

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