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Man Who Killed Saints Star Will Smith Sentenced to 25 Years


Racquel Smith, second left, widow of former New Orleans Saints star Will Smith, arrives at the Orleans Parish criminal courthouse with supporters on April 20, 2017
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The man who fatally shot retired New Orleans Saints star Will Smith and wounded his wife after a traffic crash last year was sentenced Thursday to 25 years in prison for manslaughter, far less than the maximum prosecutors had called for.

Cardell Hayes faced up to 60 years if given consecutive maximum terms for manslaughter and attempted manslaughter, as prosecutors had urged. Instead, Judge Camille Buras gave him 15 years for shooting Racquel Smith in the legs, to be served at the same time.

Hayes, 29, will get a year of credit for the time he’s already served since shooting one of the city’s sports heroes in April 2016. State law requires him to serve 85 percent of the sentence before becoming eligible for good-behavior release, meaning he could be freed in roughly 20 years.

Racquel Smith, second left, widow of former New Orleans Saints star Will Smith, arrives at the Orleans Parish criminal courthouse with supporters on April 20, 2017. Gerald Herbert / AP

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