Hot dog vendor gives out free hot dogs after murder trial acquittal

Hot dog vendors returns to work after acquittal
Donald Hayes prepares his hot dog stand for business. (Source: Michael Williams, WAVE 3 News)
Donald Hayes prepares his hot dog stand for business. (Source: Michael Williams, WAVE 3 News)
Donald Hayes listening to witness testimony on May 19, 2016. (Source: WAVE 3 News)
Donald Hayes listening to witness testimony on May 19, 2016. (Source: WAVE 3 News)
Danny Wilson (Source: Family photo)
Danny Wilson (Source: Family photo)
Doanld hayes' hot dog stand returned to its 6th & Liberty location this morning. (Source: Maira Ansari, WAVE 3 News)
Doanld hayes' hot dog stand returned to its 6th & Liberty location this morning. (Source: Maira Ansari, WAVE 3 News)

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - A hot dog vendor found not guilty of murder was back downtown at his job. Donald Hayes was giving out free hot dogs on Monday as a thank you to the community.

On May 19, Hayes was found not guilty after a week-long trial. A sign on his cart said "thanks to all of you who had prayed with me and supported me during these two years waiting on trial."

The background on this case starts on June 21, 2014. Hayes said he was on the Watterson Expressway when another driver, Danny Wilson, got in front of him and hit the brakes. The two men were weaving in and out of traffic at high speeds. Both got off at the Poplar Level Road exit. Wilson pulled into a bank parking lot and Hayes decided to follow. When they pulled up next to each other things escalated. While inside their own cars, Wilson took a bat and smashed out Hayes' window. Hayes testified that's when he grabbed his gun and fired in self-defense.

Wilson died at University of Louisville Hospital.

Hayes' long time customers were happy to see him on Monday. Many of them drove by honking and gave him hugs to show support.

"I'm glad it ended the way it ended and I'm glad he's back out here," supporter Chris Ashford said.

Ross Lerner, a longtime customer, was even in the courtroom on the day the verdict. He came by to see Hayes on Monday. 

"He (Hayes) seems very overwhelmed," Lerner said. "He said, 'I spent the whole weekend knowing that it's over, but I don't feel it's over yet. It's still with me.' I just said, 'Don we were with you the whole time.' He teared up a little. I said 'congratulations' and he said 'have a hot dog on me.'"

Hayes' attorney, Kevin Glogower, said they still send their sympathy to the Wilson family. Glogower said Hayes just wants to move on.

"He's just happy to be back to work wants to give thanks to those who have supported him through the process," Glogower said.

Hayes declined to speak to reporters on Monday.

WAVE 3 News made several attempts at contacting Wilson's family, but did not hear back as of this report. The Wilson family declined to speak to WAVE 3 News after the trial.

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