NEW ORLEANS (WGNO) – The emotionally charged, high-profile trial of Cardell Hayes is coming to a close.
Closing statements are set to begin at 9 a.m. Sunday.
Hayes is charged with second-degree murder and attempted second-degree murder for shooting and killing former New Orleans Saint Will Smith and shooting Will Smith’s wife, Racquel.
Cardell Hayes took the stand to defend himself Saturday. He told the jury that he “was probably gonna die” if he didn’t shoot Will Smith.
“I mean, I’m not God. I know for a fact I was going to get shot,” he said.
He also told jurors that he never stood over Will Smith and said “that’s what you get,” despite Racquel Smith’s testimony saying he did. He said Pierre Thomas, Will Smith’s former teammate whose vehicle was in front of Will Smith’s the night of the shooting, lied on the stand.
Hayes has been in jail since the shooting happened in April. It all started when Will Smith, his wife and two friends, Richard Hernandez and his wife, Rebecca Dooley, were on Magazine Street in Smith’s Mercedes SUV. Video shows Smith’s SUV rear-end Hayes’ Hummer, though Racquel Smith testified that no one in the vehicle thought they had hit the Hummer.
Hayes followed Smith’s SUV down Magazine Street and rear-ended Smith’s vehicle, smashing the back window.
That’s when Will Smith and one of his passengers, Richard Hernandez, approached Hayes and his passenger, Kevin O’Neal.
An altercation ensued. It ended when Hayes shot Will Smith seven times in the back and once in the chest. He’s also accused of shooting Racquel Smith twice, once in each leg.