Cardell Hayes was found guilty of manslaughter Sunday in the shooting death of former New Orleans Saints defensive end Will Smith. 

Cardell Hayes, Killer Of Ex-Saints DE Will Smith, Convicted Of Manslaughter

Smith was murdered on April 10 when he was shot eight times by Hayes following a minor three-car collision. Smith’s wife, Racquel Smith, was hospitalized with two gunshot wounds to the leg.

The jury also found Hayes guilty of attempted manslaughter in the shooting of Racquel Smith, according to the New Orleans Advocate. 

The manslaughter charge carries up to 40 years and the attempted manslaughter charge carries 10 years, according to ESPN.


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Hayes was found not guilty on one count of aggravated criminal damage to property for allegedly bumping Smith’s vehicle.

Racquel explained the details of her husband’s final moments to the jury on Dec. 6.

“My worst nightmare happened for no reason,” she said to the jury, according to theAdvocate. “He didn’t have to do that to my baby … and you know it. Or to me. I didn’t do you anything for you to shoot me,” she said while looking at Hayes.

“I believe the jury worked very, very hard to do what they thought was the appropriate thing in that case,” Orleans Parish District Attorney Leon Cannizzaro said Monday. “I’m certainly very satisfied and we accept the verdict of the jury.”

The lead prosecutor in the case re-iterated just how much this situation has changed Racquel’s life.

“From the perspective of Racquel Smith, she will never be the same,” the prosecutor said of Smith’s wife. “I understand that. But now she has a very difficult journey for the rest of her life.”

NEW ORLEANS – JANUARY 24: Will Smith #91 of the New Orleans Saints reacts after a fumble in the fourth quarter against the Minnesota Vikings looks on during the NFC Championship Game at the Louisiana Superdome on January 24, 2010 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images)

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