Anthony Wayne Smith, the former defensive end for the Oakland and Los Angeles Raiders who was already awaiting retrial for the 2008 murder of Maurilio Ponce, is back in the spotlight after being charged with three additional murders. Wednesday he entered a plea of not guilty on all charges.
Smith is now being charged in the November 1999 murder of brothers Kevin and Ricky Nettles, who were kidnapped from a car wash in Los Angeles by two men posing as police officers, and later found shot to death, said Sandi Gibbons, a spokeswoman for the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s office. The victims’ bodies were dumped about eight miles apart from one another.
Smith has also been charged in the June 2001 killing of Dennis Henderson who was kidnapped by several gunmen. According to reports Henderson, whose brother lived next door to Smith, was found beaten and stabbed to death in a rental car. It has not yet been verified if Smith also had a connection to the Nettles brothers.
Investigators believe that all of the murders were initially robberies. Smith, who also faces three counts of kidnapping, along with special circumstances allegations because the victims were tortured, is eligible for the death penalty.
A jury failed to reach a verdict in April for the Ponce murder, splitting 8-4 in favor of guilt. Prosecutors claim Smith lured Ponce to an Antelope Valley desert highway where he was beaten, stomped and shot over a business deal gone wrong.
Smith will be retried with a co-defendant. A third man, Eric Honest, was convicted of second-degree murder in April and is awaiting sentencing.