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NEW ORLEANS -- Former Saints player Will Smith was accused of bringing about his own demise by the friend of Smiths accused kil

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01:15, Feb 11 2020

NEW ORLEANS -- Former Saints player Will Smith was accused of bringing about his own demise by the friend of Smiths accused killer, Cardell Hayes, during one of the most dramatic moments to date in Hayes murder trial.That friend, Kevin ONeal, testified for nearly four hours Thursday, stressing the point that Smith and others in his party were acting as the aggressors in an altercation that led up to Hayes shooting Smith eight times and Smiths wife, Racquel, being shot in the legs.ONeals statement came when he responded loudly to an assistant district attorney who was asking about Smith not being there anymore for Racquel and their children.Did her husband bring it by his own demise? ONeal said -- which elicited loud sobbing from the area of Racquel and other family and loved ones. Im just asking. He attacked this man (Hayes) from the beginning to the end of that situation. At no point in time did I ever see this man (Hayes) irate or aggressive with anyone out there. At no point in time, my Gods honest truth, did I ever see (Hayes) get angry.Hayes is claiming self-defense in the case, which has centered on whether Hayes felt in fear for his life when he opened fire on Smith and allegedly on Smiths wife. Other witnesses have testified that Smith and passenger Richard Hernandez were both acting aggressively during a shouting match with Hayes and ONeal and that they both had to be restrained by their wives.One witness stated that Hernandez was acting in a ridiculous fashion, with one eyewitness testifying Thursday that he shouted, Im gonna f---ing kill you, followed by a racial slur directed toward either ONeal or Hayes.However, the state has repeatedly stressed the points that Hayes was the only one armed with a loaded gun when everyone exited their vehicles after Hayes car crashed into Smiths car; that Smith was unarmed when he was shot; and that even if Hernandez was acting aggressively, no one seemed to be afraid of him, with multiple witnesses saying they found Hernandezs behavior almost comical.And homicide detective Bruce Brueggeman testified that the police never found any evidence that Smith was armed or said he was going to arm himself -- though Hayes defense team will try to show that Smith did.Another explosive moment that happened in court Thursday came when defense attorney John Fuller slammed down a legal pad and demanded a mistrial when the state asked ONeal about a recorded statement he had made criticizing Fuller as a sellout or a nobody who gets people off on technicalities even if theyre guilty. The judge denied Fullers request.Assistant District Attorney Laura Rodrigue began the day by focusing on multiple statements ONeal gave to both the media and a grand jury about how he felt as if he could handle the men trying to fight him and wasnt really in fear for his life until he heard the gunshots.The state referenced that ONeal said, How the f--- did it get from this to this? ONeal replied, however, that, Me having confidence in my ability to defend myself has nothing to do with the facts.And ONeal stressed that, Before anyone was shot, Mr. Hayes was under attack as well as myself. Point blank period.ONeal testified that five or six people were trying to restrain Smith at one point, including Saints running back Pierre Thomas -- though no eyewitnesses have testified to seeing that other than ONeal. And ONeal said he doesnt know where those five people went before the shooting, when only Racquel was trying to restrain Smith.Fuller drove home the point with ONeal, with two neutral eyewitnesses and with the homicide detective, Brueggeman, that Smith and Hernandez were the only ones who needed to be restrained by anyone during the altercation. Fuller also made the point that Hayes was not some stone-cold killer since he didnt shoot at anyone when they exited their vehicles or when people were charging at him or taking swings at him.Fuller suggested it was something Smith did that made Hayes act in fear of his life.Fuller said Smith had done some great things. But he asked ONeal, Was he acting like a great man that night? And ONeal said no.Then ONeal was asked if the two sides were reversed but the facts of the case stayed the same, would Smith be there on trial for murder. And ONeal replied, I doubt it.ONeal was one of many witnesses, however, who said he did not see or hear what happened between Smith and Hayes in the moment before the first shot was fired. ONeal said he didnt even know Hayes had a gun and didnt see him fire any shots, because ONeal was occupied trying to hold off Hernandez and Hernandezs brother-in-law Jonathan Whipple at the time.ONeal testified that he saw Smiths body slumped over the drivers seat after the shooting with his arm extended and the glove box open -- as if he might have been trying to retrieve a gun. But the state pointed out that ONeal said he retrieved his own gun after the shooting started -- and Smith might have been trying to do the exact same thing ONeal did.ONeal also testified that he and Hayes were following Smiths car at a normal rate of speed that night with the intent of getting Smiths license plate numb

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