Killer of NFL's Will Smith gets 25 years for manslaughter

Saints were set to hire Will Smith before he was killed

Man Who Shot, Killed Will Smith Faces Sentencing Friday

She said the sentences will be served concurrently, meaning that he will serve a total of 25 years in prison.

Racquel Smith, center, widow of former New Orleans Saints star Will Smith, leaves the Orleans Parish criminal courthouse with supporters, during a recess for a sentencing hearing for Cardell Hayes, who killed her husband and shot her, and was convicted of manslaughter in New Orleans, Wednesday, April 19, 2017. Being away from my son for 60 years, what's the difference from being dead?

Faia had said late a year ago that Ceravolo was weighing a lawsuit against Fuller. "At least with 25 he has the opportunity to be reunited with his family", said Hayes' lawyer, John Fuller, speaking outside court.

Prosecutors, who had initially charged Hayes with second-degree murder, were "very disappointed" in not attaining the stiffer sentencing, said a spokesman for Orleans Parish District Attorney Leon Cannizzaro. In December, Hayes was found guilty of manslaughter and on Thursday, he found out his punishment.

Foret agrees. "Most judges have their minds made up when they take the bench the morning of sentencing", he said. "There are no winners here today", her statement said. Will's dedication to his family, his love for his community and his desire to live life to the fullest will continue to inspire me, Willie, Lisa, Wynter and everyone else who loved him.

Fuller also said that Hudson was sure she saw a man who resembled Ceravolo remove a gun from Smith's vehicle - even if it wasn't the retired NOPD captain himself.

But Hayes maintained he attempted to de-escalate the situation and that he did not say the confrontation was Will Smith's fault.

A gun was found in Smith's SUV - loaded but unfired. No such gun was recovered at the scene, and federal ATF firearms expert Meredith Acosta testified that authorities recovered no ballistics evidence indicating any gun but Hayes' was sacked at the scene. Hayes had argued that he had been acting in self-defense. Daniel is urging the judge to give less than the minimum if she feels it's excessive. Formal sentencing is expected later this week.

He had faced up to 60 years if the maximum sentences were to be served consecutively.

Smith's role would have been to work with the team's defensive line, a position he played during his stellar nine-year career with the team.

Hayes' mother, Dawn Mumphrey, later took the stand.

Assistant District Attorney Jason Napoli used the term after the sometimes emotional and rambling testimony of Michael Burnside. Following the second collision between the two, Hayes, an ex-semi-pro football lineman, pulled out a handgun and opened fire on Will and Racquel, killing the former and severely injuring the latter.

Hayes said he armed himself only after he and his own passenger were accosted by Smith and Richard Hernandez, a passenger in Smith's Mercedes.

The hearings on Wednesday and Thursday included testimony from Racquel Smith, Sean Payton and Smith's other relatives. Smith died in the traffic dispute in April 2016. There was no other witness and no forensic evidence to back up Hayes' claim that Smith was armed.

Orleans Parish Judge Camille Buras called the case "sad and tragic" and noted that three children lost their father. Hayes was the first witness called. I can say it a million times, I wish that night never happened. That would include the maximum 40 years for Hayes' manslaughter conviction, followed by another 20 for attempted manslaughter in the wounding of Smith's wife.

Cardell Hayes is seen in a booking photo released by the New Orleans Police Department, in New Orleans, Louisiana April 10, 2016. "I can't tell you enough how sorry I am".

He was drafted in the first round of the 2004 NFL Draft by the Saints out of Ohio State University. They tearfully aimed bitter remarks at Smith's killer, Cardell Hayes.

The shooting of Will Smith occurred after a minor traffic incident on April 9, 2016, on the streets of New Orleans.

Hayes insisted at trial that it was self-defense.

Michael Burnside was called by lawyers for Cardell Hayes, convicted of manslaughter a year ago in Smith's death.

That might push a final decision on sentencing to later in the week even if Buras rejects the motion.

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