On day Will Smith is remembered, shooter’s lawyer goes on the offensive


On Friday, the Saints remembered defensive end Will Smith with an event at the team’s practice facility, where former teammates, coaches, executives, and ownership gathered — along with a large throng of fans. The lawyer representing the man who shot Will Smith chose that same day for the launching of an offensive against the charges Cardell Hayes currently faces.

Via Emily Lane of the New Orleans Times-Picayune, John Fuller has accused the New Orleans Police Department of misconduct. In a letter sent to Mayor Mitch Landrieu, Fuller asked that the NOPD be removed from the case.

The letter reportedly explained that Fuller has “a grave lack of faith in the honesty and competency” of the investigation. The letter cites unspecified “factual misstatements from high-ranking” officials of the police department.

“Every homicide in New Orleans deserves a fair, thorough and complete investigation, and that is what we are doing in this case,” NOPD spokesman Tyler Gamble said in denying the request, according to Lane. “We will continue to follow the facts wherever they take us.”

Fuller also filed a request to compel the presence of former Saints running back Pierre Thomas and former NOPD Captain Billy Ceravolo at the April 28 preliminary hearing. Fuller contends that they have “pertinent information” about the events before and after the shooting.

Likewise, Fuller co-counsel Jay Daniels made a successful request in court on Friday for the preservation of surveillance video from various establishments, including The Penthouse Club and Larry Flynt’s Hustler Club. Peter Thomson, the lawyer representing Will Smith’s family, criticized Hayes’ lawyers for making the request during Smith’s public memorial ceremony.

Fuller said the evidence will prove that Hayes is “legally not guilty,” and that the evidence “will go to the ultimate true narrative of this case.”

In an email to Ben Myers of the New Orleans Times-Picayune, Thomsen said that the contentions are “absolutely false but not unexpected,” and that Fuller is a “desperate defense attorney who, as before, is frantically trying to mislead everyone and distract from the fact that his client murdered Will Smith in cold blood and intentional shot Will’s wife.”

Although Fuller has yet to public cite the law, it’s clear that he will rely on Louisiana’s “stand your ground” statute in arguing that Hayes committed a “justifiable homicide.”

51 responses to “On day Will Smith is remembered, shooter’s lawyer goes on the offensive

  1. So the guy shoots Smith for self defense as he claims. How was it that he shot the wife inside the car?

  2. Of course I think the shooter is guilty but the facts of this case are starting to get interesting. It no longer looks like a random shooting as a result of a fender bender in cold blood.

    Smith was associated with the police officer whom the killer won a settlement against for killing his father. The killer was also an employee of the Saints while Smith was a player.

    I also truly hope the security evidence from the strip clubs is relevant to the case. If the defense attorney is just trying to question Smith’s character by showing that he was at strip clubs- and doing so on the day of Smith’s memorial, no less- that is beyond low.

  3. Sorry, one in the chest, seven in the back and a few extra in the girlfriend is not self defense.

    Enjoy making “friends” with all the angry lifer Saints fans in general population, murderer!

  4. this guy is going to walk if an eyewitness confirms that Smith turned to get something out of his vehicle after declaring he had a firearm….

    – don’t have a “family” lawyer making statements in a criminal case
    – don’t declare you have a gun over a fender bender argument

    it’s sad, but it’s straight up crazy to be yanking guns over a bashed truck

  5. There is nothing in Fuller’s diatribe that could not have been said at another time or not at all. It seems as though it is his intent to alienate the jury pool

  6. They don’t even need to make a preservation order on the strip club video. I’m sure ten TV networks are bidding on it now.

  7. There two cases then. Homicide against Will Smith…and attempted murder against Mrs. Smith.

    Disclaimer: I am not a lawyer and any comments herein are not to be considered as legal advice.

  8. How does this guy have a defense ? He pretty much emptied the whole clip.

    Anybody that is a sane person and in control could prove a point with a single shot. Not 10 !!!!!!

  9. While the ‘Stand your ground statute means that you don’t have to show that you tried to walk away before using force, does it allow you to shoot in the back someone who was trying to walk away?

  10. I lived in NOLA from 2009-2015. I prefer to call it The Big Sleazy. Like I tell people that ask me about NOLA….It’s a nice place to visit but I wouldn’t want to live there.

  11. These guys are just too much. Regardless of what happened before, it isn’t self defense when you shoot somebody 7 times in the back and then shoot his wife twice. Particularly when the people you shoot are sitting in their car. Now these lawyers want to make a reputation by defending on the biggest case in NO in years.

  12. The man has no argument for shooting Will’s wife..and the “last blade of grass”..on earth as a defense for shooting will 7 times in the back..he will rot in jail the rest of his life….and good riddance…

  13. There isn’t enough information to say if smith is a victim at this point but one thing is crystal clear: New Orleans is a violent cesspool.

  14. Fuller is agressively attempting to get his story out and the foolish media is helping. Headline on CNN the othe day was that shooter didn’t know ID of Smith until well after the shooting. This was not proven it was just what the accused stated but the idiot media doles it out to the masses as though it were a fact. In America the media is a tool to be used by evil to manipulate the truth and they don’t care as long as it generates revenue.

  15. Stand your ground laws equal the worst laws ever. There has always been a strong current of self-defense in the laws across the United States. The purpose for self-defense versus stand your ground is the public policy of wanting people to leave violent confrontations rather then become involved in them.

    Situations like this will persist as a natural result of stand your ground laws. It is a shame.

  16. If you ever feel that you need to shoot a gun, you unload the clip. That establishes the benchmark of being in danger – single and warning shots do not do this.

    The flip side is if you dont have a justification, you are going to jail for life.

  17. They’re doing they’re job.

    If, for instance, they hadn’t filed immediately for preservation of that video it could easily have been overwritten.

  18. This defense attorney is very very clever:

    1) He made the request to bar the NOPD as investigtors in a letter to the mayor, not in court to the judge.

    2) He did it on the Friday afternoon during the Saints’ hosting of Will Smith’s last visitation for the general public (nicely done I might add, google for photos of the viewing–closed casket.)

    That’s two birds with one stone. Cast aspersions on the performance of the police and at the same time, distract from the outpouring of sympathy for the deceased.

    This guy is good.

  19. “I guess his wife must also have threatened him so he shot her too.”

    Seems almost certain she was hit by a pass through or miss against Smith. Smith was sitting between her and the shooter.

  20. conciselogic says:
    Apr 16, 2016 6:41 AM
    Fuller is agressively attempting to get his story out and the foolish media is helping.

    So the media should do what exactly? Refuse to publish information? Cherry pick what gets broadcast?

    USSR had that, it was called the KGB Network. Pretty sure Beijing has a similar program.

  21. According to Smith’s attorney, the killer shot the wife, once in each leg (shattered femur) PRIOR TO turning the gun on Will Smith’s back.

  22. onereasonableman says:
    Apr 16, 2016 8:08 AM
    Stand your ground laws equal the worst laws ever.

    A woman in Detroit jumped to her death off of a bridge because a man was menacing her and she was in fear for her life. No one anywhere should be forced to take their own life to satisfy the gun phobes.

  23. Question? Hayes Called 911 and said he was involved in a hit and run. Then he said he was going to chase them down “to get the license plate number”. Then he RAMS into the back of the car. Jump’s out the car with a pencil or ink pen? Now a man is dead, his wife was shot and Hayes is sitting in jail? Did he ever get the License plate number?

  24. One would think with the many witnesses plus a bunch of video that this case would be pretty clear cut. All this posturing right now is for the public. What happens to this killer will be based on what is admissible in court and how the jury feels about it.

  25. @ speedel

    Your point is exactly accurate. You’ll find that most people who hate guns typically don’t know anything about gun laws, gun safety or guns in general. If I thought my life was in danger, I’d be pulling that trigger until it stopped working….like you said, if he had shot Smith one time in the forehead, he’d have a pretty hard time explaining self-defense in court.

    I think the most telling details of this case are already found on YouTube right now. The public interest in this case along with the connections of Smith and the NOPD are enough to make me wonder if this guy can get a fair trial. I believe that this guy might have murdered Will Smith, but there is a strong possibility that this was a justified homicide with an imminent criminal charge for the shots that missed Smith and hit Smith’s wife.

  26. NOTICE to all citizens who enjoy traveling and seeing America:

    Do your research in advance. Find out which states have so-called “stand your ground” laws. Avoid them at all costs. These laws allow people to shoot you for the flimsiest excuses and then claim “I felt threatened.” These laws enhance the chance that you will be murdered because the law itself gives the shooter a built-in excuse.

    And don’t wear hoodies or eat skittles. And don’t have a fender bender.

  27. Look, I am no means a fan of the brotherhood of law enforcement and the curroption that exists. I learned long ago to never talk to police or detectives without a lawyer. They are not there to be your friend. They are looking for anyway possible to find you guilty of something. We don’t know what exactly happened the night Smith was shot and killed. There is always more to a story than what the media wants you to think. I haven’t passes judgement about this and Hayes deserves evry chance to defend himself. This isn’t even about guilt at this point.

    The problem I have is his defense team. This is the perfect example of a sleazy, scum bag attorney. There is absolutely no need to try to cause a scene when people are trying to mourn. Trying this case through the media is terrible. The media spins every bit of “news” that they can get their hands on. Regardless of whether anything was justified, or if Smith put himself into that situation, there are still family and friends who are grieving over the loss of their friend and loved one.

    Time and a place for everything. That place is in the courtroom. These attorneys have no respect for themselves. And have little regard for anyone else. They are attention seeking, slimy individuals who really don’t care about the man they are defending, they only care about a high profile, media frenzy case which will allow them to be seen on TV and have their name printed over and over in the news.

    Let the mans family take the time to remember their loved oned without having to hear a slime ball drag the deceased’s name through the mud.

    I would expect the same thing for Hayes if he was killed in the incident.

  28. @jpmelon

    I don’t think it matters if one knows the gun laws or not. Clearly this guy has issues.

    Father was killed for pulling a knife on police.
    Tyrann Mathieu says he was a hater and a punk.
    He takes his nice Hummer and rams the heck out of a vehicle smashing the window.
    Then shoots a guy 8 times in the back while he’s in his car and shows absolutely no remorse.
    And everyone seems to think it was Will Smith who said he had a firearm 1st.

    That dude is a murderer…….

  29. Penthouse Club and Hustler Club? That’s pretty soft core.

    Club Club is the good one.

    *this joke brought to you by the 1980s

  30. Ok, so a felon in possession of TWO handguns shoots an unarmed man In the back 7 times along with his wife and wants to claim self defense? Good luck with the “feared for your life” argument, he was the only one with a gun in his hand! Smith is licensed to carry legally and had his gun in the car! Sorry Fuller, but your boy is going to jail!

  31. If Hayes is found not guilty, what is the take away from this? For driving in New Orleans, if someone rams your vehicle like Hayes did, have a loaded gun handy and be ready to empty the clip on the other driver? The defense attorney said Smith may have been upset. How many people get out of their vehicle after being violently rear-ended singing Kumbaya?

  32. Everybody calm down! The evidence will point to guilt or non-guilt. I will say that Mr Fuller is a class act! Just kidding! This incident along with so many others just shows you that many of us should not own a firearm. There are too many fools and morons who do. I believe you can own a gun to defend yourself (in your home) but with that right comes responsibility and common sense. Take note of the parents in Kentucky who gave their 6 year old son a LOADED .22 for his birthday. He then proceeded to shoot his 2 year old sister. She died. Those parents should go to prison for stupidity let alone child endangerment. There are thousands of other stories just like that.

  33. Kind of curious to know what some people would do if some idiot shot their wife. Which is what happened in this situation. If smith was going for his gun seems he had a right after seeing his wife getting shot. No stand your ground defense. Wife’s testimony will seal the deal for the prosecution.just should have gotten the license plate number and let the law handle this.

  34. The fact that he rammed his truck into Smith’s vehicle is enough to prove he was looking for trouble.

    And what is Smith supposed to do act like a little punk with his wife present ?

    You protect your family at all costs, but I’m sure Smith didn’t expect to get shot at either.

    If that dude gets found innocent, there’s gonna be riots in N.O.

    3 children with no father and a mother who is scared for life and probably won’t ever walk normal again…….

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