Attorneys for Cardell Hayes, the accused murderer of former Saints lineman Will Smith, filed subpoena requests Friday with Orleans Parish Magistrate Court, seeking to secure testimony from former Saints running back Pierre Thomas and retired NOPD veteran Billy Ceravolo at a preliminary hearing scheduled for April 28.
Both Thomas and Ceravolo dined with Smith on Saturday night at Sake Cafe on Magazine Street, and both appeared at the shooting scene 10 blocks away. Police have refused to say if either was in Smith’s Mercedes SUV or a Chevy Impala that was traveling ahead of it before Hayes’ red Hummer crashed into the rear of Smith’s vehicle in the Lower Garden District about 11:30 p.m.
Smith’s car then hit the Impala, and a heated argument ensued. Smith was shot eight times, with seven bullets striking him in the back. He died in the driver’s seat of the Mercedes, an arm slung over the steering wheel and his feet outside. Raquel Smith was shot once in each leg before the gunman fired on Smith, her attorney said this week.
Ceravolo has said he was in a car a few minutes ahead of the Hummer, Mercedes and Impala when the shooting occurred. On social media, Thomas said he “witnessed” Smith get “shot to death over a fender bender” but didn’t make it clear exactly where he was when the killing occurred.
Fuller has claimed that Hayes, 28, accidentally ran into the back of Smith’s Mercedes in an attempt to get the license plate number, having been rear-ended by the Mercedes a few minutes before. He has called Hayes “legally not guilty,” suggesting a coming self-defense claim.
Surveillance videos from neighborhood businesses seem to show Smith’s Mercedes lightly bumping the back of the Hummer as the vehicles approached traffic stopped at a red light shortly before Smith was fatally shot. The Hummer pulled over, the Mercedes drove away, and the Hummer followed, videos show.
Although attorneys for Hayes, 28, are asking Magistrate Judge Harry Cantrell to grant their subpoena requests, it remains uncertain whether a preliminary hearing will be held in the matter. Orleans Parish District Attorney Leon Cannizzaro’s office could secure a grand jury indictment before then, which would skirt such a hearing.
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