Judge rejects motion for new trial for Cardell Hayes after hearing bizarre testimony

Judge rejects motion for new trial for Cardell Hayes after hearing bizarre testimony

NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - A judge rejected a motion for a new trial for Cardell Hayes, the man convicted of killing for New Orleans Saints star Will Smith. The judge rejected the defense's argument that she somehow thwarted their ability to explain self-defense.

Attorneys tried to get their client a new trial Wednesday, calling to the witness stand a man who said he heard two different sounding gunshots on the night Smith was killed.

The defense team for Hayes asked for a new trial, based on new evidence.

That new evidence was testimony from a Central City resident who says he heard the gunshots the night Smith was killed and insists there were two guns fired at the scene, implying Smith or someone in his party, may have fired a weapon before Hayes opened fire.

Michael Burnside told the court he heard two different sounding shots the night Smith was shot to death by Hayes.

Burnside, who lives on Felicity Street near the scene of the shooting and who gave contradictory and at some points bizarre testimony, said he heard at least "eight booms" the night Smith was killed.

Burnside testified he heard "baps" and "booms," implying two different guns were fired at the scene. This would support the defense argument that Smith also fired a gun at the scene and that Hayes fired in self-defense.

Burnside provided colorful testimony at one point cursing on the stand and interrupting Fuller's line of questioning.

When Fuller asked Burnside about April 9, the night Smith was killed, Burnside said, "in my world, I don't recognize April 9th. I don't have a television, cell phone."

When asked about his background, Burnside said he worked at community colleges and was homeless for a time.

He also testified he spent four years in the military where he was given an honorable discharge.

Burnside, who made for an interesting witness, at one point became emotional on the stand when he said he does not believe "people should kill people anymore."

He also went off on a tangent, saying how sad he was when he saw the vigil set up Smith after he was killed.

Testimony veered off topic at several other points with Burnside telling the court he did not want to be to be in court.

"I don't want to be here, I'm a coward," he said. "I don't even like you people."

Burnside sand the Orleans Parish District Attorney's office "thinks I'm crazy and I don't care."

At that point, Fuller said: "the district attorney's office thinks I'm crazy too, so we have that in common."

On cross-examination, Assistant District Attorney Jason Napoli seized upon Burnside's admission pointing out the witness has no clock, no watch, no calendar, no visual reminder of time.

Given that, Napoli asked Burnside how he could know the shots he heard occurred around the date Smith was killed.

Burnside said it was a unique set of shots, but Napoli countered that doesn't really explain how he knew he heard the shots on April 9.

"I am not an ATF expert," Burnside replied.

Napoli told Burnside there was another shooting 45 min before Smith was shot even closer to Burnside's house and then asked why he didn't hear that shooting.

"The nine witnesses on scene who don't remember hearing another gun or seeing another gun were you mad at them.?" Napoli asked.

"No, they're not officers of the court," Burnside said.

Sentencing is set for Friday.

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