‘Certainly pleased,’ attorney says after conditional bond given to man convicted of killing Saints’ Will Smith

‘Certainly pleased,’ attorney says after conditional bond given to man convicted of killing Saints’ Will Smith
Cardell Hayes released on bond

NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - Cardell Hayes, the man convicted of manslaughter for the death of Saints player Will Smith in 2016, was given a conditional bond during a hearing on Thursday, March 18.

Hayes’ bond was set at $225,000 with conditions.

Conditions include weekly drug testing. Testing positive for any drugs, including marijuana, will revoke the bond. Hayes will also be placed under house arrest unless he has work scheduled. Other reasons must be approved by the court.

Hayes is also ordered to stay away from the victim’s family members.

“We are certainly pleased,” Hayes’ attorney John Fuller said after the hearing. “It’s certainly a significant amount of money, but we’re doing everything we can to bring him home.”

Hayes’ verdict was thrown out after the Supreme Court ruled that the 10-2 split jury vote was unconstitutional. The court now says a unanimous jury is required for a conviction.

After more than four years in jail, Hayes is now free on bond. Hayes now awaits a new trial.

District Attorney Jason Williams released a statement as his office prepares for the Hayes re-trial.

“Trial is currently set for this July and this office will absolutely be prepared. Not only did this family lose a father & husband, but a wife & mother nearly lost her life as well. Social media vitriol being tossed about is unhelpful to either side and it only revictimizes this family. This office is committed to vigorously pursuing justice in this case. We will not litigate this matter with the media or in the public out of respect for the family.”

The shooting occurred on April 9, 2016. Investigators say Smith was driving an SUV near Sophie Wright Place in the Lower Garden District neighborhood when he was rear-ended by a Hummer H2 driven by Hayes. The impact caused Smith’s vehicle to hit the rear of an Impala, which police say was traveling with him.

After the collision, police said Smith and Hayes exchanged words. During the argument, Hayes pulled out a gun and shot Smith multiple times and shot Smith’s wife Racquel twice in the right leg, according to NOPD. Smith was pronounced dead at the scene.

RELATED:

Former Saint Will Smith shot to death in Lower Garden District

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