NEW ORLEANS (AP) – The Latest on the trial of Cardell Hayes, charged with second-degree murder in the April 9 shooting death of retired New Orleans Saints star Will Smith (all times local):
Former New Orleans Saints running back Pierre Thomas is telling jurors about the night he saw former Saints defensive captain Will Smith shot to death following an argument over traffic.
Thomas said Wednesday he thought an argument between Cardell Hayes and Smith had subsided when he heard gunfire. He said he turned to see Hayes pointing a gun, then saw Hayes fire more shots into Smith’s SUV. Thomas said he approached the SUV, looked through the passenger window and saw Smith slumped over the steering wheel.
Under cross examination from Hayes’ lawyer, Thomas insisted he is not leaving out details or embellishing the story to preserve his former teammate’s public image.
The defense says Hayes fired because Smith was returning to his SUV to retrieve a loaded gun. Hayes is charged with second-degree murder.
A witness to the April killing of former New Orleans Saints player Will Smith says she saw Cardell Hayes repeatedly shoot her friend and then look down without remorse at Smith’s lifeless body.
Rebecca Dooley says she saw Smith’s body “jolt” when Hayes shot him following a heated argument over a traffic dispute.
Dooley said she and her husband were riding with Smith and his wife when Hayes’ Hummer slammed into Smith’s SUV. She said they all got out as their argument became heated, and she witnessed Hayes shoot Smith.
Defense attorneys say Smith was the aggressor. But contradicting defense claims, Dooley insisted Wednesday that she never heard Smith threaten to get a gun to match the weapon Hayes was carrying.
On cross examination, defense lawyer Jay Daniels is noting apparent inconsistencies between Dooley’s testimony and earlier statements to police.
The first witnesses called in the trial of the man who fatally shot retired football star Will Smith included a longtime teammate who choked up as he described their friendship and Smith’s widow, who was wounded in the April 9 shooting.
Deuce McAllister, a fan favorite during nine seasons as a star running back for the New Orleans Saints, became emotional Tuesday as he testified.
Later came Racquel Smith – struck in the legs by gunfire the night her husband was shot by 29-year-old Cardell Hayes.
Hayes faces life in prison if convicted of second-degree murder in Smith’s death. His lawyers insist Hayes fired in self-defense after a car crash led to a heated argument.
Racquel Smith insisted that her unarmed husband did nothing to provoke the killing. The trial continues Wednesday.
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