A jury has charged the murderer of New Orleans Saints player Will Smith who was shot to death during a traffic dispute in early April.

The Orleans Parish jury has given a second-degree murder charge on Cardell Hayes who not only shot Smith to death but also shot the latter’s wife, Racquel Smith, with an intention to kill her as well. The jury gave its verdict on Thursday in the middle of the preliminary case hearing.

According to NBC News, Smith’s family lawyer claimed that the player’s wife was gunned down on both get legs on April 9 and suffered from injuries which did not have severe physical effects but caused a major psychological damage. Police said that Hayes and Smith had an argument before the former shot the player. The incident took place when Smith’s Mercedes SUV hit Hayes’s Hummer from behind. This prompted Hayes to follow Smith to confront him, which later on converted into a heated argument.

Will Smith’s lawyer said the player’s wife urged the murderer to leave them alone but he did not listen. Hayes was arrested on the spot on suspicion and was held on a bond set at US$1.75 million (AU$2.29 million).  According to USA Today, legal observers felt that the prosecutors were attempting to delay the hearing so that the indictment could be secured prior to the proceedings.

Hayes’ lawyer, John Fuller, tried to stall the hearing but proceeded with a complaint, saying his client was called to the court without prior intimation. The prosecution said it would not present witnesses and just offered an arrest report as the proof. Fuller demanded the release of his client even though the judge wanted to have some time to research the whole matter.

While the charges of murder and attempt-to-murder have been proved against Hayes, Fuller still advocated his release and asserted that his client was “legally not guilty.”