NEW ORLEANS -- The attorney for the man accused of killing former Saints defensive end Will Smith suggested even more strongly Monday that a possible second gun on the scene could help exonerate Cardell Hayes of second-degree murder.
Attorney John Fuller did not say who he believed had the second gun or whether he thought it had been fired. He also declined to say whether his client plans to claim self-defense. But he insisted Hayes felt threatened, and filed a motion in court to preserve all ballistic evidence.
"It would be safe to say that not only did my client feel threatened, but citizens that were out there on that block felt threatened as well," Fuller said. "And I think the uncovering or unearthing of a second gun will lend itself to the defense of Mr. Hayes.
"Once everything becomes apparent, you'll see why I'm saying that my client, legally speaking, is not guilty of second-degree murder."
New Orleans Police Department spokesman Tyler Gamble said all of the shell casings found on the scene matched the one gun that was initially confiscated and that was believed to have been fired by Hayes.
Hayes' attorney, however, stressed that there is a difference between only one gun being confiscated and more than one gun being present. He said his belief stemmed from witnesses on the scene and video of the actions that took place.
Meanwhile, Gamble said the NOPD also intends to book Hayes on a charge related to the shooting of Smith's wife, Racquel, who was hit in the leg during the incident. As of now, Hayes has been charged only with Smith's killing.
"The investigation is ongoing to determine what charge," Gamble said. "It could be aggravated battery by shooting or it could be attempted murder. It's still under investigation."
Earlier Monday, NOPD superintendent Michael Harrison said he and Mayor Mitch Landrieu visited Racquel Smith in the hospital. A source said she was in stable condition following surgery Sunday. Harrison had previously described her injuries as "non-life threatening."
The NOPD said it had no further updates at this time while the investigation is ongoing.
In other developments Monday, the Saints announced that plans are in the works for a celebration of Smith's life at the team's practice facility in Metairie on Friday, which will be open to the public. They will announce more details on Tuesday.
Also Monday, attorney Jay Daniels signed on to be co-counsel for Hayes because Fuller is scheduled to serve as a pro tempore judge in criminal court starting May 2. He was appointed by the Louisiana Supreme Court to serve until a new judge is elected in November. Fuller is prohibited from representing clients while on the bench.