Will Smith’s killer back in court Tuesday

NEW ORLEANS - Cardell Hayes was back in court Tuesday morning for a special hearing that his defense attorneys called in an effort to prove that Hayes never shot Racquel Smith.

Hayes was convicted in December of manslaughter and attempted manslaughter for shooting and killing former New Orleans Saint Will Smith and shooting and injuring his wife, Racquel.

At Tuesday's hearing, defense attorneys called on the people who treated Racquel Smith after the shooting to testify.

The defense started with Andrea Lott, an occupational therapist at University Medical Center. The prosecution asked Lott if Racquel ever made a statement that she was accidentally shot to Lott. Lott said no.

Dr. Stephen Thon, a third year medical resident at UMC, also took the stand Tuesday.

Defense Attorney John Fuller asked if there was an "accidental discharge of gun" code on Racquel's medical chart.

Dr. Thon said he didn't write it there, but someone had to have said that; he can't make that assumption.

Fuller then asked if "the person who was checked in would have to say it," and Dr. Thon agreed.

The prosecution suggested that the medical code may have been selected by accident. Dr. Thon says it happens.

The prosecution also called witnesses.

Dr. John Hunt, the trauma medical director who treated Racquel, said he never heard Racquel say anything about an accidental shooting, and he said that interns put codes into the system and they're not a priority.

He also said that the code under discussion was not a diagnostic code. The defense asked if Racquel was accidentally or purposely shot.

Dr. Hunt said all he can confirm was that she was shot.

The hearing was still under way as of 11:45 a.m.

Sentencing for Hayes is set for March 27. He could face up to 60 years in prison.