Source: Witnesses in Will Smith shooting to testify before grand jury _lowres

Gabriella Ortiz, of New Orleans, pauses at a makeshift memorial in New Orleans, Tuesday, April 12, 2016, near the spot where former New Orleans Saints defensive end Will Smith was shot and killed, and his wife wounded by gunfire, after a traffic accident last Saturday. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

Witnesses in the fatal shooting of former Saints player Will Smith are expected to testify before a New Orleans grand jury, a source close to the defense team in the case confirmed to The Advocate.

"I have been advised that grand jury subpoenas were issued," the source said when asked about the matter.
Cardell Hayes, the man authorities say gunned down Smith the night of April 9 following a traffic collision on Sophie Wright Place, is scheduled to appear at a preliminary hearing at Orleans Parish Criminal District Court on April 28.

Hayes is also accused of injuring Smith's wife, Racquel, in the deadly incident, which authorities say was witnessed by people in at least three separate cars.

But prosecutors could skip over that preliminary hearing if a grand jury hands up charges against Hayes before then.

Following Smith's shooting, Hayes was jailed on a count of second-degree murder. He has not been booked with shooting Racquel Smith, but authorities have said he faces a charge for that as well.

Hayes is represented by attorneys John Fuller and Jay Daniels. Fuller has previously contended that Hayes was "not the aggressor" and is "legally not guilty" in the incident that took Smith's life.

Smith accumulated the fourth-most quarterback sacks in team history for the Saints and helped them win their lone Super Bowl title during his nine-year NFL career.

Hayes ran a tow truck company and played football for a local developmental league team named the Crescent City Kings before he was arrested in connection with Smith's death. He faces mandatory life imprisonment if he is eventually convicted of murder.

WVUE-TV first reported the grand jury development in the case