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Former Oakland Raider faces three more murder charges

Anthony Wayne Smith, already awaiting retrial for his alleged role in a 2008 slaying, has been accused of three more killings that took place in 1999 and 2001.

July 04, 2012|By Ann M. Simmons, Los Angeles Times
  • Anthony Wayne Smith, shown here during a 1994 Raiders game, faces three more murder charges. The former defensive end is already awaiting retrial for his alleged role in the 2008 slaying of Maurilo Ponce.
Anthony Wayne Smith, shown here during a 1994 Raiders game, faces three… (Al Bello / Allsport )

Anthony Wayne Smith, a former Oakland Raiders defensive end who is awaiting a retrial for his alleged role in the 2008 murder of a Lancaster man, has been charged with three additional murders, the Los Angeles County district attorney's office confirmed Wednesday.

A criminal complaint, filed Monday, includes the original murder charge involving the slaying of Maurilo Ponce but also accuses Smith of the 1999 killings of brothers Kevin and Ricky Nettles and the murder of Dennis Henderson in 2001.

Smith also faces special circumstance allegations of torture and multiple murders, along with several counts of kidnapping and robbery, according to the court document filed in Los Angeles County Superior Court.

Sandi Gibbons, spokeswoman for the district attorney's office, said Wednesday that on or about Nov. 10, 1999, the Nettles brothers were kidnapped from a carwash business in Los Angeles. Two people posing as police officers handcuffed the men with zip-tie tape, Gibbons said. The next day, the brothers were found dead, apparently tortured and shot with a 9-millimeter handgun, she added.

Then, on or about June 25, 2001, Dennis Henderson and Terry Ware were kidnapped somewhere in Los Angeles by several armed suspects, Gibbons said. They were placed in separate cars and driven away. Ware was released, but the following day, authorities found Henderson's body in the back of a rental car. He had been beaten, stabbed and allegedly tortured and robbed, Gibbons said.

Smith allegedly knew Henderson's brother and lived next door to him in Marina del Rey, according to prosecutors.

Gibbons said she did not know the motive for the killings.

Smith is awaiting retrial for his alleged role in the slaying of 31-year-old Ponce, whose body was found on Oct. 7, 2008, with six gunshot wounds, including two to the head.

Smith's trial for Ponce's murder ended in a hung jury in April when the panel failed to reach agreement on a verdict, splitting 8 to 4 for a guilty judgment.

Also charged in connection with Ponce's death and awaiting trial is 33-year-old Dewan Wesley White of Bloomington. A third defendant, Eric Honest, 42, of Los Angeles, was found guilty in April of second-degree murder. He is awaiting sentencing, defense attorneys said.

Michael S. Evans, who represented Smith in his first trial, could not be reached Wednesday for comment on the new murder charges against his client. During the trial, Evans had argued that Smith was innocent and had no reason to kill Ponce. Further, there was no physical evidence, such as DNA or a gun with Smith's fingerprints, to tie him to the crime, Evans told jurors.

Prosecutors, meanwhile, hinged much of their case on cellphone-tracking technology that they argued had placed Smith and his two alleged accomplices near the scene of Ponce's killing. Deputy Dist. Atty. Taly Peretz had urged the jury to convict Smith of first-degree murder.

The murders of Henderson and the Nettles brothers were investigated by homicide detectives with the Los Angeles Police Department and filed as a capital case, Gibbons said. But the district attorney's office would not make a decision on whether to seek the death penalty until "closer to the trial," she said, and only after the defendant's preliminary hearing, she added.

Smith, 45, who played professional football with the Los Angeles and Oakland Raiders in the 1990s, is being held without bail and is scheduled to be arraigned July 17 on the new charges, Gibbons said.

ann.simmons@latimes.com

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