Fourth Estate Staff
New York, NY, United States (4E) - The man who was convicted of fatally shooting former Saints player Will Smith was sentenced by Judge Camille Buras to 25 years behind bars.
Hayes was given 25 years for the manslaughter charge for killing Will and 15 years for attempted manslaughter for injuring Racquel Smith. Those sentences will be served concurrently.
Hayes said in an emotional testimony towards Will's family that he wishes he died instead of the former Saints player. The incident took place at a Lower Garden District street after a road rage incident. Hayes said, "I should have just let him (Smith) kill me. Being away from my son for 60 years, what's the difference from being dead?" The mother of Hayes, Dawn Mumphrey, also said days ago that police should lock her up just so her son will be free.
The defense team filed a motion for a new trial a day before the scheduled sentencing. Hayes maintained that he fired at Will because he feared for his life. Accordingly, he and Will got into an argument after Hayes ran into the back of the SUV of the former Saints player. Hayes also said, "I would never just purposefully take his life. I can't blame y'all for hating me."
Hayes, 29, will have a year of credit from the time he served pending trial. He will also be eligible for good behavior after he completes 85 percent of his sentence. His lawyer added, "If he was sentenced to 60 years he probably could have died in jail. At least with 25 he has the opportunity to be reunited with his family."
Racquel, on the other hand, expressed disappointment about the sentencing. She said, "This ordeal has been a nightmare for me and my family. There are no winners here today. Today's sentencing does not bring back Will and leaves another child to grow up without a father."
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