Today's sentencing does not bring back Will and leaves another child (Hayes' 6-year-old son Cardell Jr.) to grow up without a father. "I wish that night never happened".
"If he was sentenced to 60 years he probably could have died in jail".
Smith's widow, Racquel, addressed the court and Hayes directly expressing grief over her loss and telling Hayes to own up to his actions.
"That's what I fear most for my son, not to be there for him", Hayes said, fighting through tears.
Surveillance footage from the scene appeared to show Smith's Mercedes SUV bump the rear of Hayes' Hummer before speeding off. Moments later, according to authorities, Hayes' Hummer hit the rear of Smith's vehicle, causing it to crash into a third auto.
Hayes and Smith were involved in a traffic-related altercation on April 9, 2016, when Hayes got out of his auto and discharged a firearm into Smith's vehicle. "That's the most offensive part of this entire process", Rodrigue said. Following the second collision between the two, Hayes, an ex-semi-pro football lineman, pulled out a handgun and opened fire on Will and Racquel, killing the former and severely injuring the latter.
Wailing and shaking, the mother of the man who killed former New Orleans Saints star Will Smith pleaded for mercy from the judge who is preparing to sentence him.
The judge had been expected to announce the sentence Friday, but defense attorney John Fuller said he expects Cardell Hayes will learn his fate Thursday afternoon.
Thomas was in a auto ahead of the Smiths when he heard the crash, went back toward the collision, and arrived in time to see his former teammate gunned down, according to testimony. Judge Buras dismissed the motion.
William "Billy" Ceravolo has ruled out filing a civil lawsuit over now-discredited allegations that he tampered with the crime scene after Will Smith's fatal shooting, claims that resulted in his suspension from a reserve officer's post. New Orleans Saints coach Sean Payton also spoke in court, saying Smith was "special".
The surprise new witness produced by the defense Wednesday was Michael Burnside of New Orleans, who took the stand insisting he heard two different weapons fired during the traffic dispute between Hayes and Smith.
A prosecutor is calling for maximum punishment for the killer of New Orleans Saints star Will Smith. The Hayes family also has experienced loss.
Will Smith celebrates during a game against Arizona on January 16, 2010 during a playoff game at the Superdome in New Orleans.
Smith's widow and other loved ones took the stand at a pre-sentence hearing Wednesday. But he was convicted of manslaughter and attempted manslaughter.
The Smiths were shot after a three-car collision in the Lower Garden District on the night of April 9, 2016.
Hayes faces up to 60 years in prison for manslaughter and attempted manslaughter after killing Will Smith and wounding Racquel in a confrontation that began when the Smith's auto apparently bumped his Humvee in traffic.
The defense told the judge that it was "an emotional trial for both sides of the aisle".
Fuller said he did not discuss the sentence's length with Hayes afterward.