Cardell Hayes Testifies He Shot & Killed NFL Star Will Smith in Self-Defense Despite No Evidence to Support Claims

Jennifer Lopez once claimed “self-defense is not murder” in the 2002 film Enough. The man currently on trial for second-degree murder after fatally shooting New Orleans star Will Smith is now using this same defense, but no one is buying it.

Cardell Hayes testified Saturday (Dec. 10) that he shot Smith 8 times because he felt his own life was at risk. He says he only fired his gun after he heard a “pop” noise, which he assumed was a gunshot from Smith’s gun.

“I knew for a fact that I was going to get shot.”

The 29-year-old also denies shooting Smith’s wife, Racquel Smith, twice in the right leg despite ballistics evidence that proves otherwise.

Smith was shot once in the side and 7 times in the back.

Hayes recounted his version of events to the jury. He says Smith was the aggressor during an April 9th road rage incident in New Orleans that was sparked by a minor fender-bender. Hayes denies intentionally ramming into Smith’s Mercedes SUV bumper in retaliation after Smith ran into Hayes’ bumper.

According to Hayes, Smith and Richard Hernandez (Smith’s passenger) were yelling at him and calling him racial slurs (Hayes and Smith are both black, while Hernandez is reportedly a “white Hispanic”). He testifies he grabbed his gun after he saw Hernandez take off his shirt and remove “something shiny” from his pocket. Hayes believed it was a knife.

Not aware of the gun, Smith then allegedly threw a cup of alcohol at Hayes and began to punch him repeatedly. Hernandez then warned Smith of Hayes’ gun. According to Hayes, this prompted Smith to say:

“…you got your gun. Well I’m going to get mine and I’ll show you what to do with it.”

Although a loaded gun was found in Smith’s SUV, prosecutors say it was never fired nor did Smith even grab it on the night in question. In fact, Hayes is the only witness that places a gun in Smith’s hands, a claim he did not initially tell police officers on the night of the murder.

Other witnesses say Racquel was successful in calming her husband down before any shots were fired. She testified Hayes was the aggressor, not the 2010 Super Bowl champ.

“I never gave a full statement to anyone,” Hayes said during cross examination while being pressed why his story has so many inconsistencies.

Hayes’ testimony comes just over a week after former NFL star Joe McKnight was shot and killed by Ronald Gasser in a road rage incident.

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