Racquel Smith, center, widow of former New Orleans Saints star Will Smith, enters the Orleans Parish criminal courthouse with supporters, for a sentencing hearing for Cardell Hayes, who was convicted of manslaughter in the shooting death of former New Orleans Saints star Will Smith, in New Orleans, Wednesday, April 19, 2017. Prosecutors want the maximums, served consecutively, for a total of 60 years. The year he has spent in jail since the shooting will be credited toward this sentence.
The court does feel compelled to say how profoundly sad and tragic this case is, that three (Smith) children have lost their father, a wife her husband, and a family their cherished loved one.
Facing criticism about the allegations during Hayes' trial in December, Fuller said he merely referred to claims about Ceravolo that were reported to Hayes' legal team while it was gathering evidence to defend a client. I pray for the other families of New Orleans that are dealing with the same tragedy that comes with the loss of life at the hands of senseless violence.
"Being away from my son for 60 years, what's the difference of being dead?"
She says they were hopeful Judge Camille Buras would impose a stronger sentence to "more justly reflect" her family's pain and loss. "I know him. He was in fear for his life", said Lacroix, the mother of Hayes' son. She said that Hayes caused "great bodily harm" and used a weapon in commission of a crime.
"Everything that happened that night, I wish it had never happened", Hayes told Racquel Smith in court this week.
Defense attorney Jay Daniel said Hayes truly believes he was in danger when he shot Smith during an argument over traffic past year.
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As she puts it, "I will continue to shine my light for my Superman".
And Hayes' mother pleaded through her tears for mercy for her son. Saints stars past and present including coach Sean Payton, quarterback Drew Brees and former running back Deuce McAllister often dropped in to the trial to show support for Smith's friends and family. "He's (Cardell Hayes) ready to accepting his sentence knowing that he told the truth ..."
At a news conference a few days later, Fuller suggested that a witness had reported seeing Ceravolo remove a gun from Smith's auto after the shooting, presumably to protect the reputation of the one-time Pro Bowler, who was driving with a blood-alcohol level three times the legal limit when he was slain.
An altercation ensued, and Hayes ultimately shot Smith seven times in the back and once in the side.
Napoli then asked Hayes if he still contends that Will Smith reached into his Mercedes SUV that night, picked up a gun and fired it. Hayes said he does still contend Will Smith fired a gun, saying "that's what happened". The bushy-haired, bearded witness appeared near tears at times and twice let slip a profanity on the stand as he insisted that he heard two guns fired when Smith was killed.
A prosecutor is calling a newly found defense witness in the killing of former New Orleans Saints star Will Smith "certifiably insane". Hayes insisted he fired in self-defense, but apologized to the Smith family.