‘I don’t want sympathy. I want justice’: Racquel Smith takes the stand in Cardell Hayes trial


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NEW ORLEANS (WGNO) – Racquel Smith, wife of former Saint Will Smith, took the stand this afternoon during the Cardell Hayes trial.

“I don’t want sympathy. I want justice,” she told jurors Tuesday afternoon. “He is not here today so I am his voice.”

She eventually broke down on the stand, telling jurors that “my worst nightmare happened for no reason.”

“He didn’t have to do that to my baby,” she said.

Racquel Smith’s testimony came after Will Smith’s former teammate Deuce McAllister took the stand, as well as an NOPD detective who investigated the case.

Cardell Hayes is booked with second degree murder in the death of former Saints player Will Smith
Cardell Hayes

Hayes is charged with second-degree murder for Smith’s shooting death and attempted second-degree murder for shooting Racquel twice in the leg.

Racquel Smith said the shooting happened the day before the birthday of one of their children.

“We got dressed, we kissed the kids goodbye, and we told them we would be back,” Racquel Smith said before a packed courtroom.

The shooting happened in early April when Smith, his wife and a few of their friends were leaving a restaurant in the Garden District. Will and Racquel Smith had spent the day at French Quarter Fest. Surveillance video shows Will Smith’s Mercedes bumping the back of Hayes’ Hummer on Magazine Street, prompting Hayes to follow Will Smith’s vehicle and smash into its rear.

Racquel Smith told jurors that Hayes’ Hummer stopped very abruptly.

“I, from the bottom of my heart, did not think we hit the car,” she said.

An altercation ensued, and Hayes ultimately shot Will Smith seven times in the back and once in the side.

Racquel Smith said before Hayes shot him, she looked at her husband “in the eyes and said this is not worth it.”

“And he walked away with me,” she said.

Hayes’ attorney, John Fuller, will work to convince jurors that Hayes acted in self-defense and that Will Smith was the aggressor. The jury is comprised of eight women and four men.

McAllister got emotional during his own testimony, telling jurors that “our kids were in the same class.”

“Not having him here is tough,” he said.


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