Hearing for man accused of killing Saints player Will Smith

NEW ORLEANS (AP) Prosecutors will have to present witnesses against the man accused of killing retired New Orleans Saints player Will Smith at a hearing Thursday, unless a grand jury indicts him first.

Police say 28-year-old Cardell Hayes shot the star defensive end and Smith's wife late April 9, killing Smith and hitting Racquel Smith in both legs.

Felony defendants who have not been indicted are entitled to a probable cause hearing at which witnesses must be brought forward and can be cross-examined by defense attorneys.

Defense attorney John Fuller has subpoenaed five New Orleans homicide officers and two emergency medical technicians, online court records show.

However, an indictment before 10 a.m. Thursday would cancel the hearing scheduled at that time, said Dane Ciolino, a criminal law professor at Loyola University-New Orleans.

''I would be surprised if that didn't happen,'' he said.

Hayes, who had played defensive end in high school and, last year, in a semiprofessional league, was arrested on a charge of second-degree murder and is being held on $1 million bond.

Police say Hayes admitted shooting Smith.

Defense attorney John Fuller has said Hayes was not the aggressor and was trying to get the license number of a vehicle that had hit his from behind when his Hummer hit Smith's Mercedes SUV. He has repeatedly pointed out that Hayes stayed at the scene until police arrived.

An attorney for Smith's family has described Hayes as enraged and portrayed the Smiths as the victims.

Smith was a leader on the Saints team that won the Super Bowl after the 2009 season. The New York native and Ohio State star stayed in the New Orleans area after his 2012 retirement.