Will Smith's Killer Cardell Hayes Sentenced to 25 Years for Manslaughter

Timothy RappFeatured ColumnistApril 20, 2017

Racquel Smith, center, widow of former New Orleans Saints star Will Smith, arrives at the Orleans Parish criminal courthouse, Thursday, April 20, 2017, in New Orleans, with supporters, for the second day of a sentencing hearing for Cardell Hayes, who killed her husband and shot her, and was convicted of manslaughter. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)
Gerald Herbert/Associated Press

Cardell Hayes was sentenced to 25 years in prison after being convicted of manslaughter for killing former New Orleans Saints defensive lineman Will Smith, according to the Associated Press

He was also sentenced to 15 years in prison, to be served concurrently, for attempted manslaughter after wounding Smith's wife, Racquel Smith, in the same incident.

Hayes was facing up to 60 consecutive years in prison after being convicted of manslaughter and attempted manslaughter, though the prosecution had originally sought a second-degree murder conviction and a mandatory life in prison sentence, per Kevin McGill of the Associated Press (via ABC News).

A jury ultimately decided upon manslaughter instead, and Louisiana Judge Camille Buras decided against the full 60-year sentence. Hayes' defense had also asked for a new trial, though Judge Buras denied that request.

"The district attorney and the Smith family are disappointed with the sentence," prosecutor Christopher Bowman said after the sentencing, per McGill (via the Chicago Tribune).

Hayes shot and killed Smith in April 2016 after a traffic dispute between the two men in New Orleans. Hayes maintained throughout the trial and sentencing that he had acted in self-defense, though the loaded gun Smith had in his car at the time of the incident was found to have been unused on the night in question.

"I apologize for their loss," Hayes said on Thursday, telling Raquel Smith he wished the incident had never taken place.