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Verdict Vacated; Bond Request Next For Ex-NFL Star’s Killer


NEW ORLEANS: An attorney for the man who shot and killed former NFL star Will Smith in 2016 said on Tuesday he would seek the man’s bail now that a court of appeal for Louisiana officially overturned his conviction for manslaughter by a non-unanimous jury.

Cardell Hayes has long insisted that he shot in self-defense when he shot Smith in a clash following a traffic accident. At trial, the jury in 2016 voted 10-2 to convict Hayes of manslaughter in Smith’s death and attempted manslaughter in the injury of Smith’s wife.

However, the United States Supreme Court subsequently declared these non-unanimous verdicts unconstitutional. The High Court dismissed Smith’s convictions in January and returned the case to the state. The state’s 4th Circuit Court of Appeals formally overturned the convictions and sentences on Friday, formally returning the case to New Orleans District Court.

Defense attorney Eric Santana said on Tuesday he plans to seek bail for Hayes while prosecutors consider their next decision, which could mean a new trial. Santana said it was not clear, due to factors such as pandemic restrictions in the district court, when he would seek Hayes’ release.

District Attorney Jason Williams’s office did not immediately respond to an emailed query Tuesday. Last month, following the Supreme Court’s ruling in the Hayes case, his office issued a statement saying the Hayes case and another lesser-known split-verdict case will be given further consideration. and a decision in the coming weeks on how best to proceed. under the law to do justice.

Smith, 34, a father of three, was a defensive leader for the Saints team that lifted morale in New Orleans following Hurricane Katrina in 2005. He helped the team lead a winning season in 2006 and a Super Bowl victory in 2010.

Hayes, 33, who owned a tow truck business, had played semi-professional football and is the father of a young son.

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