Manslaughter verdict caps trial of ex-NFL player's killer
NEW ORLEANS (AP) -- The man who fatally shot retired New Orleans Saints defensive leader Will Smith faces a sentence of up to 40 years in prison after being convicted of manslaughter during a trial that made spectators of some of the city's sports heroes.
Cardell Hayes was convicted of manslaughter Sunday night, ending a week-long trial in which the defendant insisted he only fired because the popular football star was drunk, violent and had grabbed a gun following a traffic crash on the night of April 9.
Hayes will be sentenced on Feb. 17. As bad as the conviction was for him, it could have been worse. He was tried on a second-degree murder charge carrying a mandatory life sentence.
Hayes also was convicted of attempted manslaughter for wounding Smith's wife, Racquel Smith.