The Latest: Closing arguments Sunday in Will Smith shooting

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Posted: Dec 10, 2016 5:11 PM
The Latest: Closing arguments Sunday in Will Smith shooting

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — The Latest on the trial of Cardell Hayes, charged with second-degree murder in the April 9 shooting death of former New Orleans Saints star Will Smith (all times local):

4:10 p.m.

The defense has rested in the Will Smith shooting death case and the judge has set closing arguments for Sunday.

On trial in New Orleans is Cardell Hayes, charged with second-degree murder in Smith's April 9 death. Hayes told the jury Saturday he fired only after Smith grabbed a gun from his damaged SUV during a dispute following a traffic accident. He also said he heard a sound like a gunshot before firing.

Prosecutors say the evidence doesn't support Hayes' contention that Smith was armed. The prosecution rested its case Friday.

Prosecutors called a single rebuttal witness Saturday: a firearms expert who said there was evidence of Smith having fired a gun the night he died.

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Noon

The man who fatally shot retired New Orleans Saints star Will Smith in April has told a jury he did so only after Smith struck him several times and grabbed a gun following a traffic crash.

Prosecutors say Smith was unarmed but Cardell Hayes insisted Saturday that Smith threatened to get a gun from his damaged SUV — and then did so.

Hayes, who is charged with second-degree murder, said an irate and drunken Smith threw a cup of alcohol at him, hit him numerous times and — once he saw that Hayes had a gun — declared that he, too, had a weapon.

A loaded gun was later found in Smith's car. Prosecutors say it hadn't been fired.

Hayes said he fired numerous times after seeing a gun in Smith's hand. The bullets killed Smith and injured his wife, Racquel.

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11:30 a.m.

The man who shot retired New Orleans Saints star Will Smith has taken the witness stand at his second-degree murder trial.

Twenty-nine-year-old Cardell Hayes is expected to make the case Saturday that he killed Smith because he feared for his life following a heated confrontation after an April 9 car crash.

With Smith's widow, who was shot that in the legs that night, looking on, Hayes began his testimony by recounting his history as a high school, college and semi-pro football player. And he says he admired Smith's career with the Saints.

11:15 a.m.

A defense attorney for the man who shot retired New Orleans Saints star Will Smith has clashed in court with a police detective who insists Smith never posed a threat to the shooter.

Cardell Hayes is charged with second-degree murder in Smith's April 9 death following a car crash.

Defense lawyer John Fuller on Saturday cited earlier testimony that a man traveling with Smith that night used a racial epithet and threatened to kill somebody in the confrontation with Hayes and Hayes' passenger after the crash. But the detective, Bruce Brueggeman, said neither Smith nor the man with him, Richard Hernandez, was armed or posed a threat.

Although there was talk of a racial epithet, race has not been cited as a factor in Smith's death. The victim and shooter were both black. Hernandez is white.

9:50 a.m.

The trial of the man who shot retired New Orleans Saints star Will Smith has resumed in New Orleans

Among the spectators Saturday was Saints coach Sean Payton.

The defense began by calling Brian Cain, the latest in a string of witnesses who said defendant Cardell Hayes was in a good mood in the hours before the shooting.

Hayes is charged with second-degree murder in Smith's April 9 death. The fatal shooting happened after a car crash.

Hayes' lawyers have said Hayes fired in self-defense, fearing that Smith was about to retrieve a gun from his damaged SUV.

Prosecutors rested their case Friday after nearly a week of hearing from witnesses, including Smith's widow, Racquel, who was hit in the legs by gunfire that night.

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8 a.m.

The trial of the man who shot former New Orleans Saints star Will Smith is entering its sixth day.

Cardell Hayes' lawyers are expected Saturday to continue building a self-defense case. They say an angry, intoxicated Smith intended to retrieve a gun from his SUV after Hayes' Hummer crashed into it on the night of April 9.

Prosecutors rested their case Friday after nearly a week of hearing from witnesses, including Smith's widow, Racquel, who was hit in the legs by gunfire that night.

Early prosecution witnesses have said it appeared that Smith's anger had cooled when Hayes fired. But a friend of Hayes' who was a passenger in the Hummer insisted that Smith and his friends were the aggressors.