Cardell Hayes was found guilty of manslaughter in the killing of former New Orleans Saint Defensive End Will Smith, and could face up to 40 years in prison.

Smith was shot and killed by Hayes following a road rage incident on April 9th, in which the 29-year old suspect said he was acting in self defense. 


"I didn't want to kill Will Smith. I didn't want to kill nobody," said Hayes, who insisted he didn't begin firing at Smith until he saw a "black weapon" in Smith's hand and heard a "pop."

Hayes was the only witness to place a gun in Smith's hand that night. Police say a loaded gun was found in Smith's SUV. Prosecutors say it was never fired that night and that Smith never grabbed it.

Hayes insisted he feared for his life after Smith addressed him with a racial epithet and told him, "... you got your gun. Well, I'm going to get mine, and I'll show you what to do with it."

"What else could I think? I think he's gonna show me what to do with it. I think he's about to kill me," said Hayes, who said Smith threw a cup containing some type of alcohol at him and repeatedly punched him in the face before threatening to grab his gun. "I knew I was gonna be shot. I probably would've died. I knew for a fact I was gonna get shot."

The trial began last week and yesterday afternoon the jury found Hayes guilty of not only manslaughter but also attempted manslaughter for attempting to murder Smith's wife, Racquel on that night.

He will be sentenced on February 17th.