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Will Smith death: Man who killed National Football League star sentenced to 25 years

22 April 2017

Buras could have sentenced Hayes to serve anywhere from 20 to 60 years for his December 11 convictions for manslaughter and attempted manslaughter.

Cardell Hayes was facing 60 years behind bars for the shooting death of the ex-NFL star, but was granted a lesser sentence for manslaughter, NFL.com reported.

It's been over a year since the tragic shooting of former New Orleans Saints defensive end Will Smith. State law requires him to serve 85 percent of the sentence before becoming eligible for good-behavior release, meaning he could be freed in roughly 20 years.

The 29-year-old owner of a tow-truck business could be sentenced to 60 years for fatally shooting Smith and wounding Smith's wife in a confrontation after a traffic crash last year. "I wish that night had never happened", Hayes said.

"There are no winners here today", her statement says.

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Smith's widow and other loved ones took the stand at a pre-sentence hearing Wednesday.

The defense tried to secure a new trial for Hayes, but the court denied the motion.

At one point, Judge Buras and courtroom deputies admonished a man in audience for raising a fist to Hayes as he left stand. There was no other witness and no forensic evidence to back up Hayes' claim that Smith was armed.

She thanked the New Orleans District Attorney's Office and the city's police department and said she "will continue to shine my light for my Superman".

A gun was found in Smith's SUV — loaded but unfired.

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Prosecutors, who had initially charged Hayes with second-degree murder, were "very disappointed" in not attaining the stiffer sentencing, said a spokesman for Orleans Parish District Attorney Leon Cannizzaro. She referenced a 2016 recording of a prison phone conversation, played at trial, in which Hayes called Racquel Smith "a phony" and Mumphrey also disparaged her. Fuller also said that Hudson was sure she saw a man who resembled Ceravolo remove a gun from Smith's vehicle - even if it wasn't the retired NOPD captain himself. Instead, Judge Camille Buras gave him 15 years for shooting Racquel Smith in the legs, to be served at the same time.

Smith, who was 34 and had retired from the National Football League in 2014, was shot eight times.

Assistant district attorneys Jason Napoli and Laura Rodrigue conceded that Smith was intoxicated - his blood alcohol content of.235 was almost three times the state's legal limit to drive - and that he certainly was angry when first confronting Hayes after being rear-ended at a calculated 15 miles per hour, shortly before 11:30 p.m. on Sophie B. Wright Place near Felicity Street.

Hayes, who took the stand in shackles and an orange prison jump suit, spoke to Smith's children saying he knows what they're going through. His wife Racquel was also shot, but survived.

Prosecutors have acknowledged that the former Saint had a high blood-alcohol level after spending a day at the city's annual French Quarter festival and the evening dining and drinking with friends. Prosecutors countered that the defense was trying to smear Smith.

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