LANCASTER, Calif.–Former Raiders defensive end Anthony Wayne Smith pleaded not guilty today to murder charges stemming from four killings nearly a decade apart.
The 45-year-old ex-pro football player is charged with murder and kidnapping to commit another crime–robbery–in the Nov. 10, 1999, slayings of Kevin and Ricky Nettles; the June 25, 2001, killing of Dennis Henderson; and the Oct. 7, 2008, killing of Maurilio Ponce.
The criminal complaint includes the special circumstance allegations of multiple murder and murder involving the infliction of torture on the Nettles brothers and Henderson.
Prosecutors will decide later whether to seek the death penalty against Smith.
Smith had been awaiting a retrial in connection with Ponce’s killing when the three new murder charges were filed against him July 2.
A Lancaster Superior Court jury on April 18 deadlocked 8-4 in favor of finding him guilty.
The Nettles brothers were each shot, while Henderson was beaten and stabbed to death, according to Sandi Gibbons of the District Attorney’s Office.
Smith, the Raiders’ top pick in 1990 out of the University of Arizona, went on to play professional football with the Los Angeles and Oakland Raiders between 1991 and 1997. He was charged in February 2011, along with two other men, in connection with Ponce’s killing.
Smith was charged with arson in the February 2003 firebombing of a Santa Monica furniture store–a crime that allegedly stemmed from a dispute over a few hundred dollars and a statue left at the store on consignment. But a judge dismissed the case against him in December 2004 after two juries deadlocked–the second 11-1 in favor of acquittal.
Smith subsequently sued a Santa Monica police sergeant, contending that he was falsely arrested and maliciously prosecuted. A panel from the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals rejected Smith’s claim in a 2-1 ruling in October 2010.