A man that fatally shot former New Orleans Saints star Will Smith received a 25-year prison sentence on Thursday. Cardell Hayes, 36, shot Smith following a 2016 car crash.

This marks the second time in which Hayes has been sentenced in connection to Smith's death. The 36-year-old was originally convicted of manslaughter back in December 2016 and sentenced to 25 years. However, the jury voted 10-2 and the conviction ended up being thrown out by the United States Supreme Court after they outlawed non-unanimous verdicts.

After receiving a new trial, Hayes was convicted by a unanimous jury in January 2024. 

Judge Camille Buras stated that both Hayes and another person were both armed when they approached Smith's car at the time of the shooting, and Smith wasn't armed. Smith was shot eight different times during the altercation.

Hayes claimed self-defense after saying that he fired the gun because he thought Smith had reached for a gun in his SUV. He also said that he believed that the former Saints defensive end was intoxicated during the altercation, but no evidence supported that claim.

Hayes was released on bond after serving over four years of his original sentence. He was free during several retrials, but was taken into custody following the January unanimous verdict.

The overturned verdicts from the 2016 trial included an attempted manslaughter conviction because he also shot Smith's wife, Racquel, during the confrontation. Hayes was later acquitted of that charge.

Smith, who was retired at the time of his death, played nine seasons with the Saints. He tallied 463 tackles (329 solo), 67.5 sacks, and 85 tackles-for-loss in his nine years in the NFL.