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Will Smith Dead; Trial of Cardell Hayes Starts, Who Pleads Not Guilty with Self Defense

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Will Smith

It’s been months since former NFL player Will Smith was shot and killed by Cardel Hayes. And now, jury selection is over and opening statements have been given in the trial of Hayes. He is the 28-year-old who allegedly murdered Smith during what was speculated to be a road rage confrontation.

The jury composed of four men and eight women listened to the arguments on Tuesday in a New Orleans courtroom. According to prosecutors, Smith was not armed when he was shot and killed. His wife, Raquel was also injured during the April 9 altercation per NOLA.com.

PEOPLE was able to acquire court documents about the incident. Police authorities allege that the couple were shot by Hayes after he hit their vehicle with his Hummer. After that the two men ?exchanged words.? Hayes then ?produced a handgun and shot Smith multiple times.? Raquel, on the other hand, received a gunshot wound on her leg. She is expected to testify during Hayes trial.

Hayes is facing several charges right now such, as second-degree murder, attempted second degree murder and aggravated criminal damage. He pleaded not guilty and can be set free temporarily if he doles out $1.75 million for bail.

All in the Name of Self-Defense

Some 120 potential jurors were questioned by prosecutors and defense attorneys for over 12 hours prior to the trial. Hayes is expected to argue that he shot Smith in self-defense. John Fuller, one of Hayes’ defense attorneys, talked to potential panelists regarding the Louisiana legal concept of justifiable homicide. The ?stand your ground? law was also discussed by the said attorney.

During his opening statement on Tuesday, attorney Jay Daniels said that Hayes had a reasonable fear of being killed. Also, Daniels alleged that Smith ‘took a few swings’ at Hayes prior to the shooting. In a statement Daniels said, “His life was in danger. He acted upon that danger, and unfortunately a person lost his life. The law allows for that.”

Prosecutor Slams Defense Lawyer

However, Jason Napoli argued during his opening statements, “If you find that Cardell Hayes was the aggressor in this incident- that is, he brought on the conflict- he has no right to claim self-defense. The law rejects that. You cannot be the aggressor and then claim self-defense.”

If Hayes will be convicted, he can face life imprisonment. The trial is expected to last for one week.

Also read: ‘I Can’t Breathe’ Video: A Different Perspective Why Guards ‘Killed’ Prisoner Michael Sabbie

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