Retrial set for Cardell Hayes in the shooting death of former Saints player Will Smith

Published: Mar. 6, 2023 at 12:11 AM CST|Updated: Mar. 6, 2023 at 3:49 PM CST
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NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - A retrial is scheduled for September 18 for Cardell Hayes, the man once convicted of killing former New Orleans Saints player Will Smith.

Hayes’ 2016 conviction for manslaughter and attempted manslaughter was vacated by the U.S. Supreme Court because the verdict was not unanimous. Hayes has been free on bond for nearly two years while awaiting his second trial on the exact charges.

Appearing before Judge Camille Buras Monday (March 6), Hayes was subpoenaed for his second trial date.

A road rage incident turned deadly in the lower garden district nearly seven years ago.

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In December 2016, a split Orleans Parish jury found Cardell Hayes guilty of shooting former Saints star Will Smith eight times in his back and side, killing him and injuring Smith’s wife.

Hayes, who claimed self-defense then, was found guilty by a 10-2 jury verdict and was sentenced to 25 years in prison. He was granted a new trial after serving less than five years.

The jury for Hayes’ original 2016 trial was sequestered. The judge said she was open to that again for this retrial, but Hayes’s lawyer said they would not motion for sequestration.

Hayes’ retrial was first scheduled for July 2021 but has already been delayed six times, with new D.A. Jason Williams now overseeing the case.

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