The Latest: Smith's killer in tears as he talks about son

NEW ORLEANS (AP) The Latest on the sentencing hearing for Cardell Hayes, convicted in the 2016 shooting death of former New Orleans Saints star Will Smith (all times local):

11:40 a.m.

The man who killed retired New Orleans Saints star Will Smith has been breaking down in tears over being separated from his little boy.

Cardell Hayes was the first witness called Thursday as the defense began to make its case for leniency. Regaining his composure, he looked at Smith's widow Racquel and told her he wishes the night had never happened.

Hayes faces up to 60 years in prison for manslaughter and attempted manslaughter after killing Will Smith and wounding Racquel in a confrontation that began when the Smith's car apparently bumped his Humvee in traffic.

Hayes is again insisting that he acted in self-defense as Smith fired a gun at him, despite evidence to the contrary at trial.

Later, he looked at Racquel Smith again and said ''I apologize for your loss.''

A judge is expected to announce the sentence Friday.

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8 a.m.

The defense gets a chance to make its case for leniency Thursday in the shooting death of former New Orleans Saints star Will Smith.

Smith's widow and other loved ones took the stand at a pre-sentence hearing Wednesday. They tearfully aimed bitter remarks at Smith's killer, Cardell Hayes.

The 29-year-old owner of a tow-truck business could be sentenced to 60 years for fatally shooting Smith and wounding Smith's wife in a confrontation after a traffic crash last year.

Hayes insisted at trial that it was self-defense. But he was convicted of manslaughter and attempted manslaughter.

His family and friends were in the courtroom Wednesday and some may be called to the stand Thursday to support Hayes.

Judge Camille Buras is expected to sentence Hayes no later than Friday.

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