Cardell Hayes sentenced to 25 years in prison

Reactions to the Cardell Hayes sentencing

NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) - A New Orleans judge this afternoon has sentenced 29-year-old Cardell Hayes to 25 years in prison for the fatal shooting of former Saint Will Smith.

Judge Camile Buras' sentence came after final arguments from both sides and emotional testimony from Hayes' family.

During final summations this afternoon, Hayes' attorney Jay Daniels argued for leniency saying, "Any prolonged sentence, in this case, would be excessive. 60 years is absurd. He wasn't a menace to society."

But prosecutor Laura Rodrigue said, "Cardell Hayes took the stand and lied. He comes to court today and cried. There's nothing left to do but beg."

The judge handed down a 25-year sentence on a day that started with Hayes on the witness stand.

Judge Buras gave Hayes 25 years for the manslaughter of Will Smith and 15 years for the attempted manslaughter of Raquel Smith. Both will be served concurrently, meaning he will do 25 years in jail. He could have served 60 years. His sentence will be served without the possibility of probation or parole.

Will Smith's widow, Raquel Smith, released a statement following the sentencing stating that she felt that Judge Buras was lenient in issuing Hayes' sentence.

My family and I are extremely disappointed with today's sentencing and the leniency showed by Judge Buras for the defendant. While we know nothing will ever bring Will back, we were hopeful that Judge Buras would have issued a stronger sentence to more justly reflect both the nature of the crimes and the tremendous loss and pain that my family has suffered as a result of Mr. Hayes' violent actions on the night of April 9, 2016.

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