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Joe McKnight Will Smith split screen

Source: Al Pereira, The Sporting News / Getty

Just after news about Joe McKnight‘s ugly murder in a road rage incident went viral, the trial in the case of former NFL star Will Smith, who was murdered in the same way, begins.

If you’ll recall, 34-year-old Smith was gunned down, also in the New Orleans area, back in April. The details of what happened on the evening of his death were pieced together through surveillance footage, police statements, and testimony at pretrial hearings.

As ABC News puts it, “Smith, his wife and two friends left a restaurant in New Orleans’ Lower Garden District and were heading downtown when, at one point, an SUV that appeared to be Smith’s seemed to bump the rear of a Hummer that had come to a stop on the street. Rather than stop, the driver of the SUV swerved around the Hummer and continued downtown. Soon after, a Hummer, whose driver was identified by authorities as Cardell Hayes, 29, allegedly hit Smith’s SUV from behind, shattering the rear window and pushing it into the rear of another car — in which friends of Smith were riding.”

The site continues, “An off-duty officer, the first police officer on the scene, testified at a pretrial hearing that as he approached the site of the crash he heard an argument between Smith and Hayes grow more heated. Hearing gunshots, the officer took cover, according to his testimony. When he approached again, he found Smith slumped across the front seat of his car, one hand extended toward his glove box.”

A handgun was found and Hayes was charged with second-degree murder. He pled not guilty. “If convicted, he will face a mandatory life sentence, according to the AP. Hayes is also charged with attempted second-degree murder, because Smith’s wife was shot and injured in the incident, the AP reported. He has been in jail since the shooting,” the site reports.

If you missed our coverage of the Smith case, catch up here. Meanwhile, the man who fatally shot former NFL running back Joe McKnight was finally charged with manslaughter four days after the road rage incident.

We are keeping the Smith and McKnight families in our prayers at this time.


Never Forget: There Was Another NFL Player Killed In A Road Rage Incident  was originally published on