Arraignment in former Oakland Raider's murder case postponed
The arraignment of former Oakland Raiders defensive end Anthony Wayne Smith, who is charged with four murders, was postponed until Aug. 1 to allow certain administrative matters to be resolved, defense attorneys said.
Michael S. Evans, Smith’s lawyer, said the additional two weeks were needed to determine issues, such as whether the case would continue to be tried at the Antelope Valley Courthouse or be moved to another location. Also to be settled, according to Evans, is whether one of the cases in which Smith is charged might qualify for “double jeopardy” — a legal standard that prevents a defendant from being prosecuted more than once for the same offense following an acquittal or conviction.
That case involves the slaying of Lancaster mechanic Maurilio Ponce, who was found Oct. 7, 2008, with six gunshot wounds. In April, Smith’s original trial for this charge ended in a hung jury when the panel failed to reach agreement on a verdict, splitting 8 to 4 for a guilty judgment.
Smith had been awaiting a retrial in the Ponce case when a new criminal complaint was filed that accused him of participation in the 1999 killings of brothers Kevin and Ricky Nettles and the 2001 killing of Dennis Henderson.
Smith also faces special circumstance allegations of torture and multiple murder, along with several counts of kidnapping and robbery, according to Los Angeles County Superior Court documents. In those three deaths, prosecutors have described the involvement of multiple assailants.
On Tuesday, Smith, dressed in blue inmate garb, sat demurely behind a partition inside the Antelope Valley courtroom of Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Steven D. Ogden. When asked whether he agreed to his arraignment being continued, whether he was willing to give up his right to be formally charged on an earlier date, and whether he wanted defense attorney Evans to continue to represent him, Smith answered “Yes, sir.”
Henderson was abducted in Los Angeles by several armed suspects, along with Terry Ware, who was later released. Henderson's body was discovered in the back of a rental car. He had been beaten, stabbed and apparently tortured and robbed, authorities said.
Evans said Smith, who played for the Raiders in Los Angeles and Oakland in the 1990s and is currently being held without bond, would plead “not guilty” in response to the allegations against him.
-- Ann M. Simmons at the Antelope Valley Courthouse
Photo: Former Oakland Raider Anthony Wayne Smith appeared in court Tuesday. Credit: Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times