The man who was convicted of killing former Saints star Will Smith has been denied an appeal by a court, the Associated Press reported Thursday.
Cardell Hayes, who was sentenced to 25 years in prison for manslaughter, argued that he was acting in self-defense when he shot Smith.
According to Hayes, after his Hummer rear-ended Smith’s Mercedes-Benz in New Orleans, “a drunk, angry Smith” pulled a gun from his car and fired first, prompting Hayes to pull his gun and fire back.
But a three-judge panel shot down those allegations and said the “evidence presented at trial was sufficient” for Hayes to be properly convicted.
The panel stated the prosecution “presented convincing evidence that Smith had retreated from the altercation.”
In December 2016, Hayes was found guilty in a 10-2 decision. He was also found guilty of attempted manslaughter charge against Smith’s wife, Racquel.
“A rational juror could have found that Defendant’s claim that he was in imminent danger of being killed was unreasonable, and that killing Smith was not necessary to prevent whatever harm Defendant thought he faced,” the court wrote.
A witness, military veteran Michael Burnside, came forward a day after Hayes’ conviction and claimed he heard two different weapons fired the night of the shooting. However, his profane and incoherent ramblings were dismissed by the court.
“We find that Burnside’s testimony is unreliable and contradicted by eyewitness testimony and the physical evidence,” the judges wrote.
Smith, a former first-team All-American at Ohio State, was drafted 18th overall by the Saints in the 2004 NFL Draft. He played nine seasons with the Saints, making one Pro Bowl and playing a key role on the Saints Super Bowl championship season in 2009.