Cardell Hayes, who was convicted of the shooting death of former Saints player Will Smith, will get a new trial, according to multiple reports.
Hayes was convicted of manslaughter in December 2016 after shooting Smith during a road rage incident just months earlier. He was sentenced to 25 years in prison, but the jury split on its decision 10-2, and the U.S. Supreme Court later ruled that non-unanimous jury verdicts, which only existed in Louisiana and Oregon, were unconstitutional.
“By law, anyone still appealing a non-unanimous conviction is supposed to get a new trial. That became official this week when the Louisiana Attorney General filed a brief with the Supreme Court conceding that Hayes’ conviction should be vacated and it should be remanded for “further proceedings.”
Those further proceedings could be a new jury trial, but that will likely be up to the next Orleans Parish District Attorney. Leon Cannizzaro, whose office pursued the case against Hayes and believed it was a just verdict, will leave office in January.”
Hayes told jurors he feared for his life and thought Smith had a gun in his hand when he opened fire.
After the collision, police said Smith and Hayes exchanged words. During the argument, Hayes pulled out a gun and shot Smith multiple times and shot Smith’s wife Racquel twice in the right leg according to NOPD. Smith was pronounced dead at the scene.