Will Smith’s widow confronts her husband’s killer during testimony

Racquel Smith walks to Orleans criminal court Tuesday in New Orleans with friends and family after a lunch break in the trial for Cardell Hayes, who shot and killed Will Smith and wounded Racquel. Behind, second from left, is former Saints running back Deuce McAllister.

Gerald Herbert

Will Smith’s widow confronted her husband’s killer and revealed her gunshot wounds during tearful testimony on Day 1 of the second-degree murder trial stemming from the death of the former New Orleans Saints star.

Racquel Smith told jurors she thought she’d brought the confrontation between her husband and Cardell Hayes to a halt after they became heated in the middle of a New Orleans street and Hayes pulled a gun.

Will Smith’s SUV had clipped Hayes’ Hummer in traffic, and Hayes’ Hummer then followed Smith’s SUV and hit it from behind — it "felt like an attack", Racquel Smith testified — leading to an argument between the men in the street.

Racquel Smith told jurors she and her husband were walking back to their SUV when she was shot in the legs and Will Smith was shot once in the side and seven times in the back. She testified that Hayes stood over her dying husband and shouted "Look at you now!"

She stared at Hayes in court and said, "he didn’t have to do that to my baby. And you know it! Or to me."

Hayes’ lawyer claims he acted out of self-defense because Will Smith was going back into his SUV to get his gun from the glove box. He’s also charged with the attempted murder of Racquel Smith.

"I don’t want sympathy. I want justice for my husband," Smith said in court. "He’s not here today. I am his voice."

The first witness called was former Saints teammate Deuce McAllister, who choked up as he testified to the character of his friend. Several other current and former Saints were in the courtroom, including Drew Brees.

Attorneys on both sides have suggested that Louisiana’s "stand your ground" law, which permits the use of lethal force for self-defense, will be at issue during the trial.

Last week another former NFL player, Joe McKnight, was gunned down in a New Orleans suburb in a road rage case. The shooter, Ronald Gasser, was arrested Monday and charged with manslaughter.

Cardell Hayes mug shot

The Associated Press contributed to this report.