Defense to plead for leniency in death ex-New Orleans Saint

NEW ORLEANS (AP) 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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