Ex-Raider pleads not guilty to four murder charges
Former Oakland and Los Angeles Raiders defensive end Anthony Wayne Smith pleaded not guilty Wednesday to charges that he murdered four men over the span of a decade.
Smith, 45, who was arraigned inside the Antelope Valley courtroom of Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Steven D. Ogden, also faces special-circumstance allegations of torture and multiple murder, along with several counts of kidnapping and robbery, according to a criminal complaint filed on July 2.
Friends and relatives have expressed shock over allegations that the onetime rising gridiron star took part in the 1999 killings of brothers Kevin and Ricky Nettles, the slaying of Dennis Henderson in 2001, and the murder of Lancaster mechanic Maurilio Ponce in 2008.
A jury deadlocked on the Ponce murder charge against the North Carolina native in April; charges against him in the three other cold-case murders were filed as he awaited retrial. 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.
Prosecutors have yet to decide whether to seek the death penalty for Smith, who is being held without bond at Men’s Central Jail in Los Angeles.
His defense attorney, Michael S. Evans, said a preliminary hearing in the case would likely occur sometime in September.
Smith played for the Raiders in Los Angeles and Oakland in the 1990s.
— Ann M. Simmons at the Antelope Valley Courthouse
Photo: Former Oakland and Los Angeles Raider Anthony Wayne Smith in court last month. Credit: Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times