Racquel Smith is the widow of New Orleans Saints former defensive end Will Smith.
Racquel Smith Personal Life
Racquel and Will Smith were married in 2008 at the Ritz-Carlton in New Orleans. It was the same year that Smith signed a seven-year, $63 million contract extension. In 2010, Will Smith was arrested and charged with domestic battery for allegedly grabbing Racquel by the hair in a club in Lafayette. However, Racquel said on Twitter the next day that it was all a misunderstanding.
Will was not charged. In April 2016, Will was shot to death and Racquel was shot in the leg in a road rage incident. Cardell Hayes (“Bear”) was convicted of manslaughter for the shooting and was sentenced to 25 years in prison. Racquel has 3 children. Her children are Wynter Chase Smith, William J. Smith, and Lisa Mya Smith.
Will Smith (defensive end)
William Raymond Smith III was born on July 4, 1981 and was an American football defensive end in the National Football League (NFL). He played college football for Ohio State and was drafted by the New Orleans Saints in the first round of the 2004 NFL draft, where he played for the entirety of his career. Smith was shot and killed during an altercation after an alcohol related traffic crash on April 9, 2016.
Road incident and death
On April 9, 2016, Smith was involved in a traffic collision in which a Hummer, driven by 28-year-old Cardell Hayes, was rear-ended by Smith’s Mercedes SUV in an ongoing confrontation that allegedly started with Smith’s vehicle rear-ending the Hummer. The final collision caused Haye’s vehicle to collide with the vehicle in front of him and was hard enough to break the rear window in the Mercedes.
Moments earlier and less than two blocks away, in the Lower Garden District of New Orleans, Smith’s vehicle had been hit by Hayes’ vehicle. Smith’s vehicle contained Smith, his wife Racquel, and two unnamed passengers. In the second collision, Smith and Hayes exchanged words, when Hayes fired a handgun, killing Smith and injuring his wife. Hayes was arrested at the scene.
During the investigation, a fully loaded 9-millimeter handgun was found in Smith’s car. Hayes and a passenger in his vehicle claimed self-defense. After an investigation, the New Orleans Police Department charged Hayes with second-degree murder. Results of a postmortem toxicology report concluded that Smith had a blood alcohol content of .235 on the night of the incident or nearly three times the legal limit in Louisiana. Smith was buried on April 16, 2016.
The trial began on December 5, 2016, in Orleans Parish Criminal District Court. On December 11, an Orleans Parish jury found Cardell Hayes guilty of manslaughter in the shooting of Will Smith and attempted manslaughter of his wife, Racquel Smith. On April 20, 2017, Hayes was sentenced to 25 years in prison for the charge of manslaughter, and 15 years for the charge of attempted manslaughter, to be served concurrently. On April 19, the day before the sentence, a judge denied Hayes’ motion for a new trial, a ruling that was reversed on November 19, 2020. On January 11, 2021, the Supreme Court vacated Hayes’ conviction.
Career highlights and awards
- Super Bowl champion (XLIV)
- Pro Bowl (2006)
- First-team All-American (2003)
- Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year (2003)
- Big Ten Defensive Lineman of the Year (2003)
- BCS national champion (2002)
- First Team All-Big Ten (2003)
- Second Team All-Big Ten (2002)
- New Orleans Saints Hall of Fame