By Olivia Vidal | WVUE | March 4, 2021


NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) – An emotional day in court today as a bond hearing took place for the man convicted of killing former Saints player Will Smith. The hearing comes after the U.S. Supreme Court vacated the manslaughter conviction for Cardell Hayes, as the jury was not unanimous in his conviction.

Hayes is also accused of injuring Smith’s wife, Racquel, after a traffic crash and argument in the Garden District back in 2016.

Both Hayes and Racquel were present in the virtual bond hearing, where Racquel broke down in tears and spoke about the possibility of Hayes making bail and getting out of jail.

“He doesn’t deserve to get bond. He deserved the highest bond available. He gave me a life sentence. He gave my entire family a life sentence,” she said.

Attorneys for Hayes want him to be released as he awaits a new trial. Assistant District Attorney Bob White said if the bond is set and Hayes makes bond, they still plan to retry Hayes. White also suggested certain conditions could be set on bail, such as a specific social media order pertaining to online bullying that Smith alleges.

Racquel cried as she recounted the incident from six years ago.

She said she has been harassed throughout the process and has nightmares about Hayes. She begged the judge to not let Hayes out of jail, saying she fears for the safety of her family. Racquel added that her children cry every day for their father.

“Mrs. Smith lost her husband. Her children lost their father. She was wounded in all of this,” said Rafael Goyeneche, president of the New Orleans Metropolitan Commission. “The seriousness of this offense and the damage that was caused are some of the factors the judge is going to take into consideration in setting bail and in sentencing.”

Judge Camille Buras ruled to review the case and make a decision next week on Thursday, March 11.

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