Former Raiders defensive end Anthony Wayne Smith was convicted on November 5 of the murders of three people, but a mistrial was declared on a fourth charge stemming from the 2008 shooting death of another man. Smith, 48, was convicted of the Nov. 10, 1999, shooting deaths of Kevin and Ricky Nettles, and the June 25, 2001, stabbing death of Dennis Henderson. Jurors deadlocked over the Oct. 7, 2008, shooting death of Maurilio Ponce, so a mistrial was declared.
Jurors also found true special circumstance allegations of multiple murders and torture, but prosecutors are not seeking the death penalty. Sentencing was set for Dec. 21. A hearing will also be held that day on whether prosecutors plan to re-try Smith for the Ponce killing.
The jury reached the verdict on Friday October 30 after deliberating over portions of eight days, but it was ordered to remain sealed because Smith’s defense attorney was not available that Friday, and some jurors could not return to court until last Thursday, said Ricardo Santiago of the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office. When court convened on November 5, questions arose about the jury’s handling of the verdict in the Ponce killing, with one panelist sending a note saying the jury was unable to reach a unanimous verdict on the first-degree murder charge. After discussion with attorneys and the jury, a mistrial was declared on that count.
A previous jury also deadlocked in April 2012 on the murder charge involving the killing of Ponce, who was found dead near the Antelope Valley poppy fields, about 11 miles west of Lancaster. While he was awaiting retrial, Smith was charged with the other three killings. The Nettles brothers were found with their heads wrapped in duct tape.
Ricky Nettles’ stomach had been branded with a burn in the shape of a clothing iron, according to testimony during Smith’s preliminary hearing. Smith faces a maximum of life in prison without the parole. Smith, the Raiders’ top pick in 1990 out of the University of Arizona, played for the Los Angeles and Oakland Raiders between 1991 and 1997.