Former New Orleans Saint Pierre Thomas bristles under cross-examination

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NEW ORLEANS (WGNO) – Defense attorney John Fuller tested former New Orleans Saints player Pierre Thomas’ patience this afternoon during a thorough cross examination in the Cardell Hayes trial.

Hayes faces second degree murder and attempted second degree murder charges in the shooting death of Thomas’ former teammate, Will Smith, who Hayes shot after a road rage incident last April.

WGNO reporter Meghan Kluth live Tweeted Thomas’ testimony as Fuller continued his cross examination.

Thomas testified that he stopped in his tracks as soon as he heard the first shot ring out. Up until that point, his focus had been on de-escalating a brawl that at that point involved Smith, Hayes, and Hayes’ passenger Kevin O’Neil.

Will Smith’s wife Racquel Smith, who was also shot twice in the incident, tried to calm her husband down, reminding him that the couple have children at home, Thomas said.

Things got testy when Fuller insinuated that Will Smith’s celebrity played a part in whether Hayes or Smith, who had a gun in his vehicle, had the right to defend themselves.

“I don’t see what being a celebrity has to do with it,” Thomas said.

Fuller pressed on, asking Thomas weather or not Hayes had a right to defend himself even though he isn’t a celebrity.

“That’s the law, yes,” Thomas replied.

Thomas told the court that there were essentially two different fights and two different reasons to fight. Hayes had his reasons, and Smith had his, Thomas said.

Fuller specified that Richard Hernandez, a passenger in Smith’s car, was the first to pull his shirt off as the verbal altercation turned violent and punches were thrown.

Thomas testified that Hayes put his gun in his car and waiting for police to arrive after the shooting, as several more people arrived at the scene.

Hernandez left the scene after the shooting, but no one else did, Thomas said.

Just before the shooting, Thomas testified that he saw Racquel and Will Smith walking calmly back toward their SUV, and that Will Smith posed no threat to anyone at the time he was shot.

Thomas described Will Smith as “a great teammate, a great player, humble, a team leader on and off the field.”

In response to a question from a State’s Attorney about whether Smith had the right to live, Thomas said “yes, he had the right.”