According to the Associated Press, Hayes' 25-year sentence was on a charge of manslaughter.
"If he was sentenced to 60 years he probably could have died in jail".
Racquel Smith said her daughter fears the day Cardell Hayes gets out of prison. "Lock me up and give me my son back".
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. During the trial, Hayes argued that the shooting, which took place after traffic incident, was unintentional. "That's the most offensive part of this entire process", Rodrigue added. She also noted the enormous emotion surrounding this case, which lasted roughly one year from Hayes' original indictment.
Hayes' mother, Dawn Mumphrey, also testified, wailing and shaking as she pleaded for mercy and forgiveness.
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.
A prosecutor is calling a newly found defense witness in the killing of former New Orleans Saints star Will Smith "certifiably insane".
A tearful Racquel sometimes aimed angry words at Hayes, who sat quietly, watching her testimony.
Hayes is scheduled for a sentencing hearing Wednesday in the courtroom of state District Judge Camille Buras.
New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton, top left, leaves the Orleans Parish criminal courthouse after a sentencing hearing for Cardell Hayes, who killed former New Orleans Saints star Will Smith and was convicted of mansla.
The shooting happened in early April 2016 when Smith, his wife and a few of their friends were leaving a restaurant in the Garden District. It capped two days of shattering, sad and sometimes bitter pre-sentence testimony: from Smith's widow, sister and Saints coach Sean Payton among others on Wednesday; from shooter Cardell Hayes, his mother, friends and loved ones on Thursday. He insisted he fired at Smith, hitting him once in the side and seven times in the back, only because he believed Smith had retrieved a gun from the SUV. I pray for the other families of New Orleans that are dealing with the same tragedy that comes with the loss of life at the hands of senseless violence.
Hayes denied saying Smith deserved to be shot.
Wednesday's testimony veered into the weird as the defense called a man who claimed to hear the sounds of two different guns, the night Smith was shot in the Lower Garden District.
Smith spent nine years in the National Football League, most of which were spent with the New Orleans Saints from 2004-13. But he was convicted of manslaughter and attempted manslaughter.
Hayes appeared to have caught something of a break at his December trial when a jury decided against second-degree murder, which would have meant mandatory life in prison.
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 vehicle apparently bumped his Humvee in traffic.
That might push a final decision on sentencing to later in the week even if Buras rejects the motion.
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