Hayes maintained that he shot Smith in self-defense after the two argued following a traffic crash. But Hayes, who testified in his own defense, was the only witness at his trial to say Smith held a gun or fired it. A handgun was found loaded but unused in Smith’s car.
Hayes, now 34, is the former owner of a tow truck business who had played some semi-pro football. He is the father of a young son.
He had been serving a 25-year prison sentence for manslaughter in Smith’s shooting and attempted manslaughter for wounding Smith’s wife. But he was granted bail after the jury’s 10-2 verdicts were later ruled unconstitutional. He has been confined to his home, allowed to leave under very limited circumstances including to attend church or keep attorney appointments.
Buras rejected a request to alter the terms of his release to allow him to take a job, saying she wanted to get more information before deciding.
Smith, a 34-year-old father of three, was a defensive leader on the Saints team that lifted spirits in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina devastated the city in 2005. He helped carry the team to a winning season in 2006 and a Super Bowl victory in 2010.