Bond hearing for man who killed ex-Saints star Will Smith

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — A decision on what the bond amount will be for the man who fatally shot former NFL star Will Smith after a 2016 traffic collision will be made next week, a New Orleans judge said Thursday.

Cardell Hayes was sentenced to 25 years in prison for a manslaughter conviction in Smith’s shooting and attempted manslaughter for wounding Smith’s wife, Racquel. But the verdict from a jury was not unanimous and has since been ruled unconstitutional.

Hayes could get a much lower bond than the $1 million-plus bond set for him in 2016 because prosecutors are asking for the bond to be based on manslaughter and attempted manslaughter charges — not the original charges of second-degree murder and attempted second-degree murder.

At Thursday’s bond hearing, Judge Camille Buras said she would decide on bond on March 11, noting in court that there are questions about whether Hayes could be retried on the second-degree murder charge after the jury at his first trial came back with a lesser verdict.

Hayes has insisted he shot Smith in self-defense during a confrontation over a traffic crash. Attorney John Fuller argued for a low bond, saying Hayes is neither dangerous, nor a flight risk, and noting that he did not flee the scene of the shooting.

Racquel Smith, making a statement via Zoom, said she has been harassed by Hayes’ supporters on social media since the conviction, and that her children are afraid of Hayes.

“Now I have to look at this man about to walk freely,” Smith, who was struck by gunfire in both legs, said as Hayes watched, also on Zoom. “He deserves the highest bond available. He deserves to be treated for murder.”

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