Lawyer for former Raiders player surprised by new killing charges
The attorney for Anthony Wayne Smith, the former Oakland Raiders player awaiting trial in a Lancaster slaying, said he knew investigators had sought to connect his client to another case but was surprised when Smith was charged with three additional killings earlier this week.
Michael S. Evans represented Smith in his trial on charges of killing 31-year-old Lancaster mechanic Maurilio Ponce, which ended in a hung jury earlier this year. Evans said he was driving to the Antelope Valley Courthouse on Monday for the start of jury selection in the retrial when he learned of the new complaint accusing Smith in the 1999 killings of brothers Kevin and Ricky Nettles and the slaying of Dennis Henderson in 2001.
Smith, 45, faces special circumstance allegations of torture and multiple murders as part of the new charges, along with several counts of kidnapping and robbery, according to the criminal complaint. The complaint also includes the original charge of murdering Ponce, who was found Oct. 7, 2008, with six gunshot wounds.
Evans declined to comment on Smith’s reaction to the new charges.
In June 2001, Henderson was kidnapped with Terry Ware in Los Angeles by several armed suspects, according to prosecutors. The men 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, 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.
The murders of Henderson and the Nettles brothers were investigated by Los Angeles police. Detectives were not available for comment Thursday.
The district attorney's office has not decided whether to seek the death penalty.
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.
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.
Evans said he was "confident" that he would continue to represent Smith.
-- Ann M. Simmons
Photo: Anthony Wayne Smith, shown during a 1994 Raiders game, faces four murder charges. Credit: Al Bello / Allsport