More suspects sought in 3 slayings allegedly tied to ex-Raider
Police say they are seeking other possible suspects in three slayings tied to former Oakland Raiders defensive end Anthony Wayne Smith, the lead detective in the case said Monday.
“We are still trying to identify other persons,” said LAPD Robbery-Homicide Dey. Martin Mojarro, who is heading the investigation into the 1999 killings of brothers Kevin and Ricky Nettles and the 2001 killing of Dennis Henderson.
Smith was charged with murder in the three deaths last week, as well as with the slaying of Lancaster mechanic Maurilo Ponce, 31, in 2008. Smith had been awaiting a retrial in the Ponce case when the new allegations surfaced.
In the case of Henderson and the Nettles brothers, 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 all three deaths, prosecutors have described the involvement of multiple assailants.
Mojarro said Monday he began to develop leads in the three old killings in March 2011, unaware at the time that Los Angeles County sheriff's detectives had connected Smith to the Ponce killing. “It was just a coincidence,” Mojarro said.
According to the L.A. County district attorney’s office, the Nettles brothers were kidnapped from a carwash business in Los Angeles by two people posing as police officers. The men were found dead the next day, handcuffed with zip-tie tape, and had apparently been tortured and shot with a 9-millimeter handgun, prosecutors said.
Dennis 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.
Mojarro said the investigation into the Nettles and Henderson slayings involved witness interviews, several search warrants and serology tests. He said DNA analysis had been submitted but would not comment on the result, nor would he comment on a possible motive for the slayings.
Prosecutors have said Smith allegedly knew Henderson's brother, who lived next door to him in Marina del Rey. “There are still so many unanswered questions,” Mojarro said. “We’re looking for other people. We think there’s a chance we might be able to locate them.”
Another man is also awaiting trial in the Ponce case. A third defendant was found guilty in April of second-degree murder and awaits sentencing.
The district attorney's office has not decided whether to seek the death penalty for Smith.
Smith, who played for the Raiders in Los Angeles and Oakland in the 1990s, is being held without bail and is scheduled to be arraigned July 17 on the new charges.
-- Ann M. Simmons
Photo: Anthony Wayne Smith, shown during a 1994 Raiders game, faces four murder charges. Credit: Al Bello / Allsport