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13th Sep 2018
A man convicted in the shooting death of retired New Orleans Saints star Will Smith has appealed the conviction and 25-year-sentence arising from a confrontation after a 2016 traffic collision.
Cardell Hayes was convicted of manslaughter in December 2016 in Smith’s death and of attempted manslaughter because Smith’s wife
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, Raquel, was shot in both legs during the encounter in April of that year.
But Hayes’ attorney Paul Barker wrote in an appeal filed Thursday that the judge who tried Hayes should have granted a new trial because a witness who contacted Barker the day after Hayes’ conviction said he had heard two guns at the time of the shooting, buttressing Hayes’ claim that he had fired in self-defense.
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Prosecutors on Friday rejected the arguments as ”falsehoods.”
Hayes’ lawyers had argued at trial that he only fired because the retired NFL player was drunk and violent and had grabbed a gun following their collision. No one else testified Smith ever held a gun. A loaded .9-mm semi-automatic handgun was found loaded but unused on the front seat of Smith’s car.
Barker’s appeal Thursday also contended the trial judge, Camille Buras, should have allowed testimony about Smith’s 2010 arrest on a domestic abuse charge. That would have shown he could be violent when drunk, Barker wrote. Barker also wrote in the filing that other errors included allowing victim impact testimony before the trial’s sentencing phase, and by ”suggestively” re-reading jury instructions.
District Attorney Leon Cannizzaro said in a statement Friday that prosecutors had proved Hayes’ guilt and that Buras managed ”this difficult trial fairly and impeccably.”
”The falsehoods within this appeal make only one thing clear: That Cardell Hayes has yet to accept the consequences of his rash decision to open fire on an innocent couple,” the emailed statement said. It added that Hayes’ latest arguments make clear he ”has yet to begin the rehabilitation necessary to one day return as a responsible and law-abiding member of our community.”
Smith, a 34-year-old father of three, was a defensive leader on the Saints team that lifted spirits in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina hit in 2005. He helped carry the team to a winning season in 2006 and a Super Bowl victory four years later. His death in a dispute over traffic was shocking, even for a city with a high rate of homicides.
In his filing Thursday, Barker said a new witness, Michael Burnside, emailed him the last day of the trial
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, when he was not checking email because he was ”preoccupied with closing arguments and jury deliberations.” The email said Burnside had heard two guns at the time Smith was shot. Reached the next day, Burnside said he had heard four ”baps” consistent with a small-caliber gun before a ”boom” consistent with a larger-caliber weapon like Hayes’.
”Mr. Burnside states that the first ”boom” of the larger caliber weapon overlapped the last ”bap” of the smaller caliber weapon,” Barker wrote. That backs up Hayes’ testimony that Smith fired at him first, he said.
Barker also said the judge didn’t let trial lawyer John Fuller question retired Saints running back Deuce McAllister, the first prosecution witness, about Smith’s ”arrest for abusing Raquel Smith while out at a bar in Lafayette.”
Smith was arrested outside a bar, accused of pulling his wife down the street by her hair. He was indicted in 2011 on misdemeanor charges of domestic abuse battery and public intoxication. Lafayette Parish prosecutors dropped the charges in 2012 after Smith completed community service and participated in counseling.
McAlister had testified about Smith’s good character, opening the way to rebuttal testimony which the judge didn’t allow, Barker wrote.
”The state elicited pages of testimony from Deuce McAllister detailing the good moral qualities of the victim, the tremendous impact on the victim’s family, and the impact on the New Orleans Saints franchise,” he wrote.
He said that ”went beyond the proper scope of examination,” causing prejudice against Hayes and violating his right to a fair trial.
Families fight, even on special occasions. Birthday boy Stephen Strasburg and Nationals ace Max Scherzer are leaving it at that.
Strasburg was batted around by the Atlanta Braves
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, then engaged in a heated spat with Scherzer in the dugout during the Washington Nationals‘ 8-5 loss Friday night.
The Nationals delayed opening their clubhouse to reporters after the game, and Strasburg then offered no clarification for the animated discussion between him and Scherzer.
”It’s part of family, man,” he said. ”You got to be in the family.”
The dispute occurred after Strasburg, activated from the 10-day disabled list earlier in the day and throwing on his 30th birthday, gave up six runs and eight hits in 4 2/3 innings. He walked into the dugout, got a pat on the back from Scherzer and sat down on the bench. They began barking at each other, then both quickly went off-camera by leaving the dugout.
Another reporter asked if the two pitchers spoke again after the initial tiff.
”You got to be in the family,” Strasburg said forcefully. ”You’re not.”
Washington, which has lost six of nine, fell to 48-49, six games behind Atlanta and 6 1/2 behind NL East-leading Philadelphia.
The Braves lost All-Star second baseman Ozzie Albies in the third inning, and the team said he was lifted as a precaution because of right hamstring tightness. Manager Brian Snitker said Albies is ”OK,” but would help to rest him ”for a day or two and see how he is.”
Albies had an RBI double and stole a base in a two-run first inning. Ronald Acuna Jr. homered
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, doubled and singled, scored three runs and had two of Atlanta’s four stolen bases.
”It couldn’t have been any better,” Snitker said. ”I loved the aggressiveness.”
Anibal Sanchez (5-2) allowed three runs over six innings for the Braves, who entered the All-Star break having lost eight of 11. A.J. Minter pitched the ninth for his fifth save.
”We felt really good about Sanchy, the veteran he is, handling that after the All-Star break,” Snitker said.
The tone was far different in the other clubhouse. Manager Dave Martinez spoke with reporters in his office rather than the standard press conference room after meeting with his top starting pitchers.
”We had a really good conversation, I’ll just say that,” Martinez said. ”It was addressed. Look, they’re very competitive. Everyone is. I’m glad we talked. It’s over. Let’s move forward. These guys are professionals. They’re good.”
Matt Adams, Trea Turner and Juan Soto homered for the Nationals, who hosted the All-Star Game on Tuesday.
Strasburg went on the DL on June 10 with right shoulder inflammation. He landed in trouble quickly in his return as the Braves scored two in the first inning.
Albies’ knocked in the Braves’ first run with a double, stole third and shrewdly came home on Freddie Freeman’s groundout as third baseman Anthony Rendon’s wide throw forced Adams to reach at first base.
Culberson, who would later homer
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, pinch-hit for Albies in the third. The 21-year-old Albies entered Friday leading the National League in several offensive categories, including runs, extra-base hits and total bases.
Adams’ 16th home run of the season tied the score at 2 in the third, but Atlanta countered with a single run in the fourth. Freeman’s two-run double highlighted a three-run fifth that put the Braves up 6-2 and ended Strasburg’s outing. He struck out six and threw 98 pitches.
Nationals catcher Matt Wieters said he believed Strasburg’s command wasn’t quite right but the stuff was. Upon a reporter relaying hearing Wieters’ thoughts, a curt Strasburg said, ”Yeah, pretty much.”
Adam Eaton scored the Nationals’ first run by stealing home in the first. Bryce Harper, on the front-end of the double steal that sprung Eaton, went 1 for 4 in his first game since his dramatic win in Monday’s All-Star Home Run Derby.
Braves: Snitker said he is leaning toward starting LHP Max Fried on Tuesday against Miami. Fried (middle finger blister), has been on the DL since July 6. He pitched 4 2/3 innings for Triple-A Gwinnett on Wednesday.
Nationals: The Nationals also activated first baseman Ryan Zimmerman (strained right oblique) from the 60-day DL. He entered as a pinch-hitter and grounded out to end the sixth. … Closer Sean Doolittle (left toe inflammation) threw off the mound Friday for the first time since July 7.
Braves: LHP Sean Newcomb (8-5, 3.51) is 1-1 with a 5.56 ERA in two previous starts this season against the Nationals.
Nationals: LHP Gio Gonzalez (6-6, 3.72) has dropped four consecutive decisions since a win at Baltimore on May 28.
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