New Orleans’ district attorney said Monday he wants the judge to deliver the harshest sentence possible to the man convicted of killing retired New Orleans Saints player Will Smith, ABC News reports.
“We will do our gut-level best to get the judge to impose the maximum sentence of 60 years,” Orleans District Attorney Leon Cannizzaro stated to the press.
A jury found Cardell Hayes guilty Sunday night of manslaughter in the April 9 road rage shooting, which Hayes argued was self-defense.
Hayes, 29, admitted to a police officer that he exited his vehicle with a weapon when he and Smith confronted each other on a New Orleans street. Smith, who had a loaded .9-mm handgun in his vehicle, was enraged and had a high blood-alcohol level.
But it was Hayes who pulled his trigger, fatally striking Smith and injuring Smith’s wife, Racquel.
A state judge will sentence Hayes on Feb. 17. He would have faced a mandatory life sentence if the jury had found him guilty of second-degree murder. But under the jury’s manslaughter verdict, he faces up to 60 years: 40 years for killing Smith and 20 years for the attempted manslaughter of Racquel.
ABC said Hayes’ attorney complained that the prosecutor and law enforcement were biased against Hayes because of Smith’s popularity. Smith was a star on the 2006 Saints team that rallied the city following the destruction of Hurricane Katrina, as well as a player when the team that won the Super Bowl.