NEW ORLEANS (AP) — A jury has been selected in the case of the man charged with second-degree murder in the shooting death of retired New Orleans Saints star Will Smith.
The 12-member jury, with four alternates, was completed late Monday night. Opening arguments are expected Tuesday.
Strategies from both the prosecution and defense are already becoming evident in the trial stemming from former New Orleans Saints star Smith’s death.
Details of Louisiana’s “stand your ground” law were discussed as potential jurors were questioned Monday.
Defendant Cardell Hayes is charged with second-degree murder for shooting Smith in a confrontation following an April traffic crash. Hayes’ lawyer is stressing that the law allows a person to “meet force with force,” rather than retreat from situations in which he might suffer harm.
But prosecutor Laura Rodriguez said that law applies to people who are engaged in lawful activity.
Smith’s SUV had been rear-ended by a Hummer that was driven by Hayes. Jurors likely will be faced with conflicting testimony over which of the two drivers was the aggressor in the confrontation that followed.
Hayes’ defense team has cast Smith as the aggressor in the confrontation that followed an April 9 car crash. An attorney for Smith’s family has said Hayes fired in a rage after the crash. Lawyers began questioning potential jurors Monday morning.
Hayes was wearing a dark suit Monday; he previously had appeared in court dressed in prison orange.
The 29-year-old Hayes has pleaded not guilty to second-degree murder in Smith’s death, and attempted second-degree murder in the wounding of Smith’s wife. Smith was a retired New Orleans Saints player who played on the 2009 team that won the Super Bowl.
Smith died after being shot eight times.