Cardell Hayes to get new trial for fatally shooting former Saints player Will Smith

Updated: Nov. 18, 2020 at 8:12 PM CST
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NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - Cardell Hayes, who was convicted of killing former Saints player Will Smith, will get a new trial, according to new filings with the Supreme Court.

This all goes back to the fact that now unanimous juries are required in Louisiana cases.

Because Hayes was convicted on a 10 to 2 jury and he was still going through the appeals process, Fox 8 legal analyst Joseph Raspanti says his trial goes back to square one.

In 2016, Hayes was found guilty of manslaughter and attempted manslaughter for shooting former Saints player Will Smith and his wife Racquel.

The jury took more than 5 hours to deliberate. Hayes told jurors he feared for his life and thought Smith had a gun in his hand when he opened fire.

Raspanti says now that he’s granted another trial it will look very different a second time.

“Whenever you try a case again it’s a totally different trial so sometimes DA’s and defense attorneys will say ‘let’s work something out’ but many times that’s not the case. You go back in the courtroom, pick another jury, put the witnesses on again and try the case all over again. This is going to be interesting because this case got a lot of publicity so that could impact what goes on going forward,” Raspanti said.

Raspanti added this could mean a change of venue considering how many years after the fact and how high-profile this case was.

The incident occurred on April 9, 2016. Investigators say Smith was driving an SUV near Sophie Wright Place in the Lower Garden District neighborhood when he was rear-ended by a Hummer H2 driven by Hayes. The impact caused Smith’s vehicle to hit the rear of an Impala, which police say was traveling with him.

After the collision, police said Smith and Hayes exchanged words. During the argument, Hayes pulled out a gun and shot Smith multiple times and shot Smith’s wife Racquel twice in the right leg according to NOPD. Smith was pronounced dead at the scene.

RELATED: Cardell Hayes’ attorneys hold unusual hearing before sentencing

Former Saint Will Smith shot to death in Lower Garden District

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