Crime

Despite attorney's argument, NOPD will investigate slaying of former Saint Will Smith

Katy Reckdahl

The New Orleans Advocate

New Orleans Saints defensive end Will Smith (91) celebrates a 17-14 win over the Atlanta Falcons in an NFL football game in Atlanta on Dec. 27, 2010. Smith was fatally shot after a traffic accident in New Orleans.
New Orleans Saints defensive end Will Smith (91) celebrates a 17-14 win over the Atlanta Falcons in an NFL football game in Atlanta on Dec. 27, 2010. Smith was fatally shot after a traffic accident in New Orleans. AP

The State Police will not take over the investigation of Will Smith’s fatal shooting, State Police Superintendent Col. Mike Edmonson said Saturday.

Edmonson made the announcement in a letter sent to John Fuller, the lead attorney for Cardell Hayes, the man accused of killing the former Saints lineman after a minor traffic collision April 9 in the Lower Garden District.

On Friday, Fuller asked the city to pull the New Orleans Police Department off the case, claiming misconduct in its investigation and asking for either the State Police or the FBI to take over the matter.

In his letter, Edmonson said he had reviewed Fuller’s request but that there was no legal basis for his agency to step in on a New Orleans investigation.

“The New Orleans Police Department exercises original jurisdiction,” he wrote. “We have every confidence that the Police Department has the investigative expertise and capacity to fulfill its obligation of conducting an objective and professional investigation.”

Fuller’s letter cited a “grave lack of faith in the honesty and competency” of the Police Department investigation.

Among other things, he has criticized the NOPD for initially saying only one gun — the one used to kill Smith — was confiscated at the shooting scene. Three days later, police revealed they had found a fully loaded 9 mm handgun in Smith’s SUV after obtaining a warrant to search the vehicle, which had been confiscated the night of the shooting.

For more, visit The New Orleans Advocate's website.

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