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NFL star Will Smith’s killer gets 25 years for manslaughter

Cardell Hayes, the man who killed former New Orleans Saints star Will Smith and wounded his wife, Racquel Smith, by shooting her in the legs, was sentenced on Thursday to 25 years in prison for manslaughter.

Hayes had faced up to 60 years if he had been given consecutive maximum terms for manslaughter and attempted manslaughter, though instead, Judge Camille Buras sentenced him to 15 years in prison for shooting Racquel Smith, with that sentence to be served at the same time as the sentence for killing Will Smith.

He will also get one year of credit for time that he has already served in prison. Under state law, he will have to serve at least 85 percent of his sentence before he will be eligible to be released on good behavior, which means it will be another two decades or so before he will have a shot at being released.

Christopher Bowman, a spokesman for the prosecutor’s office, said of Racquel Smith and her family, who left the courthouse on Thursday after the sentencing without saying anything, that “the district attorney and the Smith family are disappointed with the sentence.”

During the trial, Hayes cried and swore to Smith’s family that he wanted to take it all back. His mother also appeared in court, in tears, but Assistant New Orleans District Attorney Laura Rodrigue believes that the tears were an act.

“Cardell Hayes took the stand and flat-out lied. That’s the most offensive part of this entire process,” Rodrigue added. “To reward a person for taking the stand and lying is egregious.”


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