Just over eight months after the road-rage shooting death of ex-NFL star Will Smith, a New Orleans jury found his killer, Cardell Hayes, guilty of manslaughter on Sunday night, as reported by NOLA.com.
With the verdict, Hayes could be sentenced for up to 40 years in prison as opposed to a life sentence that he would have faced if found guilty of second-degree murder. He is slated to be sentenced on February 17.
Upon hearing the verdict, Smith's widow, Racquel Smith, burst into tears, as did members of Hayes's family. Remember, she was shot twice in the legs during the same April road-rage incident, which left her former Super Bowl champion and Pro Bowler husband dead at 34 after being shot multiple times.
The jury reached its decision after deliberating for nearly six hours, not buying Hayes's self-defense argument with its 10-2 vote to convict him.
New Orleans Parish District Attorney spokesperson Christopher Bowman told NOLA.com that the guilty verdict "was a victory for the Smith family as well as the citizens of New Orleans."
BET Sports News — Get the latest news and information about African-Americans in sports, including weekly recaps, celebrity news and photos of your favorite Black athletes.
(Photos from left: NFL via Getty Images, New Orleans Police Department)