Former New Orleans Saints star Will Smith was intentionally gunned down by a "rageful" driver who ignored his wife's pleas to leave the couple alone and then shot them over and over without remorse, the family's lawyer said Wednesday.
The Orleans Parish coroner confirmed Wednesday that Smith suffered eight gunshot wounds — seven in the back and one in the lateral chest wall. Toxicology results aren't expected for six to eight weeks.
Suspect Cardell Hayes "actually stood over Will Smith's dead body as his wife, who had crawled away because she couldn't walk, was cowering and hiding," Peter Thomson, an attorney for the Smith family, told reporters Wednesday as he recounted his version of the slaying in New Orleans' Lower Garden District.
Smith's wife, Racquel, remained hospitalized Wednesday with non-life-threatening injuries.
But Hayes' lawyer, John Fuller, ridiculed Thomson's remarks and refused to rule out that his client was the victim of a cover-up.
"The rules of professional conduct prohibit lawyers from speaking ill of other lawyers, but there are some things I heard that I question," Fuller said Wednesday evening, adding: "My client is legally not guilty, and the ballistics in this case will be very important — especially in light of what their lawyer said."
Asked whether he believed whether evidence in the case had been tampered with or covered up, Fuller responded: "I'd rather keep my thoughts on that to myself. ... In terms of a cover-up, I'm going to keep those thoughts to myself."
Fuller originally had said he would be withdrawing from the case because he was about to become a judge. But in his remarks Wednesday, he said he was giving up the judgeship to stay on Hayes' case.
Thomson's account of Saturday's shooting was the first from the family's side after Fuller earlier suggested that Hayes, 28, may have been trying to protect himself during a volatile situation following an apparent hit-and-run with Smith, 34.
Then the gunman turned to her husband, who had his back toward him, and struck him eight times, Thomson said. Smith reportedly died with his feet on the ground and his body inside his car.
"My understanding is no bullets entered the front of Will," Thomson said. "The killer, we have evidence, showed no remorse whatsoever."
He also addressed reports that Will Smith had a gun, saying he had a state license to carry a concealed weapon. But he said a firearm — described by police as a fully loaded 9 mm handgun — was stashed inside a compartment of the SUV and never taken out.
Hayes was arrested at the scene on suspicion of second-degree murder and remains held on $1 million bond. A second gun was found unused in his Hummer, police said.
Fuller, Hayes' attorney, seized on that report to raise questions about the investigation, saying Wednesday night: "I just find it odd that in a homicide ... that a gun supposedly isn't recovered until days after the incident."
None of the occupants in the Smiths' car were identified. Former Saints teammate Pierre Thomas suggested in an Instagram post Tuesday that he was at the scene when the Smiths were shot.
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