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Will Smith Murder Update: State Police Opt Not to Investigate Shooting, Hayes’ Attorney Granted Motion

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After the request from Hayes’ legal council was denied, the investigation is staying in the hands of the NOPD. But, the defense did receive positive news, in regards to their case, being granted a motion to preserve security footage as evidence.

Smith was shot and killed by Cardell Hayes after a hit-and-run incident
Smith was shot and killed by Cardell Hayes after a hit-and-run incident
Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

John Fuller, the attorney for Cardell Hayes, recently requested that the Louisiana State Police take over the investigation of Will Smith’s death from the New Orleans Police Department. On Sunday, they denied that request, according to state police Col. Mike Edmonson.

In a letter written to Fuller, which was obtained by the Associated Press, Edmonson was “confident New Orleans police can carry out an objective and professional investigation.” The 8th-year police colonel also wrote to Fuller that “there’s no legal basis for state police to expropriate any criminal investigation within the city.”

Earlier this week, Fuller, as well as Hayes’ other attorney Jay Daniels, were granted a motion in Orleans Parish Magistrate Court to preserve surveillance video from strip clubs The Penthouse Club and Larry Flynt’s Hustler Club as evidence. Fuller and Daniels claim that “numerous sources” place Smith and his wife, Racquel, at one of the clubs on the night of the shooting. Both attorneys would not explain how this footage related to the case or Hayes’s defense, with Fuller opting to tell media “It will go to the ultimate narrative of this case, which is different than what was initially laid out in print, television and social media.”

The Smith family, represented by Peter Thompson, would have their own chance to respond to the allegations, which were made during the weekend of the Saints’ Will Smith Memorial. Thompson, in an email, stated that the claims are “false but not unexpected.” Thompson also said that Fuller is a “desperate” 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 intentionally shot Will’s wife.”

Will Smith funeral

Friends and former-teammates serve as pallbearers for Will Smith's funeral (Michael DeMocker, NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune)

Fuller has maintained his client’s innocence in the case, saying Hayes is “legally not guilty.” Hayes’ defense has also repeatedly stated that his client was “not the aggressor” in the argument that resulted in the shooting of Smith. Fuller recently said Smith may have been under the influence of a substance, and is waiting on the toxicology reports, which will take around 6-8 weeks, according to the state coroner’s office.

Hayes’ preliminary hearing date has been set for April 28th. The 28-year old is being held on $1 million bond.

All Information Courtesy NOLA.com, the AP and the Louisiana State Police