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Man indicted for killing former NFL player Will Smith in New Orleans

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Saints Player Will Smith's Killer Could Be Indicted

NEW ORLEANS, April 28 (Reuters) - The man accused of killing retired NFL player Will Smith and injuring the athlete's wife this month in a New Orleans shooting was indicted on Thursday on charges including second-degree murder and attempted murder.

The grand jury reached its decision after the start of a probable cause hearing in the case against Cardell Hayes, 28, prosecutors said.

Smith, one of the NFL's top defensive ends before his 2014 retirement, was returning from a dinner with his wife on April 9 when police say Hayes' Hummer struck the rear of Smith's Mercedes SUV and caused it to crash into another vehicle.

Police said the two men exited their cars and exchanged words before Hayes drew a weapon and fired multiple shots.

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Former New Orleans Saints player Will Smith throughout his career
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Man indicted for killing former NFL player Will Smith in New Orleans
METAIRE, LA - CIRCA 2011: In this handout image provided by the NFL, Will Smith of the New Orleans Saints poses for his NFL headshot circa 2011 in Metairie, Louisiana. (Photo by NFL via Getty Images)
NEW ORLEANS, LA - AUGUST 16: Will Smith #91 of the New Orleans Saints anticipates a play during a preseason game against the Oakland Raiders at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome on August 16, 2013 in New Orleans, Louisiana. The Saints won 28-20. (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)
HOUSTON, TX - AUGUST 25: Ben Tate #44 of the Houston Texans rushes past Will Smith #91 of the New Orleans Saints at Reliant Stadium on August 25, 2013 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)
NEW ORLEANS, LA - AUGUST 16: Matt Flynn #15 of the Oakland Raiders is sacked by Will Smith #91 of the New Orleans Saints during a preseason game at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome on August 16, 2013 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)
METAIRIE, LA - MAY 23: Will Smith #91 of the New Orleans Saints participates in drills during organized team activities, OTA's, at the Saints training facility on May 23, 2013 in Metairie, Louisiana. (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)
NEW ORLEANS, LA - SEPTEMBER 09: Will Smith #91 of the New Orleans Saints walks off the field after a play against the Washington Redskins at Mercedes-Benz Superdome on September 9, 2012 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
NEW ORLEANS, LA - AUGUST 17: Will Smith #91 of the New Orleans Saints during the game against the Jacksonville Jaguars at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome on August 17, 2012 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
NEW ORLEANS, LA - AUGUST 25: Will Smith #91 of the New Orleans Saints at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome on August 25, 2012 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
METAIRIE, LA - MAY 24: Will Smith #91 of the New Orleans Saints stretches during OTA's at the Saints Training Facility on May 24, 2012 in Metairie, Louisiana. (Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images)
NEW ORLEANS, LA - DECEMBER 26: Will Smith #91 of the New Orleans Saints walks to the sidelines during a game against the Atlanta Falcons at Mercedes-Benz Superdome on December 26, 2011 in New Orleans, Louisiana. The Saints defeated the Falcons 45-16. (Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images)
NEW ORLEANS, LA - OCTOBER 23: Will Smith #91 of the New Orleans Saints stands on the sideline during a game against the Indianapolis Colts being held at Mercedes-Benz Superdome on October 23, 2011 in New Orleans, Louisiana. The Saints defeated the Colts 62-7. (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)
SEATTLE, WA - JANUARY 08: Will Smith #91 and Jonathan Vilma #51 of the New Orleans Saints take the field against the Seattle Seahawks during the 2011 NFC wild-card playoff game at Qwest Field on January 8, 2011 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images)
FOXBOROUGH, MA - JULY 26: Will Smith talks with members of the media after the New England Patriots Training Camp. (Photo by Jonathan Wiggs/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)
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Smith, 34, was shot eight times - seven times in the back and once in the chest. He was pronounced dead on the scene. Smith's wife, Racquel, was shot twice in the leg and survived.

The grand jury also indicted Hayes on charges of aggravated assault with a firearm and aggravated criminal damage to a vehicle. He faces a mandatory life sentence if convicted of second-degree murder.

Police have not confirmed that the shooting was the result of road rage or another motive. Hayes' attorneys have said he was not the aggressor and is not guilty.

Hayes remained at the shooting scene after the incident. An EMS technician who responded testified during Thursday's hearing that Hayes' demeanor was "very calm."

Will Smith played for the New Orleans Saints for a decade and was a prominent member of the team during their Super Bowl win in 2010. Following an injury in 2013, his contract was terminated and he retired in 2014.

(Editing by Colleen Jenkins and Tom Brown)

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