Ex-Raider gets life in prison for 3 killings

Posted at 1:05 PM, Jan 22, 2016
and last updated 2016-01-22 16:05:29-05

LANCASTER, Calif. - Former Raiders defensive end Anthony Wayne Smith was sentenced Friday to life in prison without the possibility of parole for a trio of murders.

Smith, 48, was convicted in November of the Nov. 10, 1999, shooting deaths of brothers Kevin and Ricky Nettles, who were kidnapped from a Los Angeles car wash, and the June 25, 2001, stabbing death of Dennis Henderson, whose body was found in a rental car in Watts.

Jurors found true the special circumstance allegations of multiple murders, murder involving the infliction of torture, and murder during the commission of a kidnapping. But prosecutors opted not to seek the death penalty.

Superior Court Judge Daviann L. Mitchell declared a mistrial on a fourth count involving the Oct. 7, 2008, shooting death of Maurilio Ponce after jurors reported that they had not reached a unanimous verdict on first-degree murder.

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.

Mitchell dismissed the murder count involving Ponce when prosecutors said they did not plan to seek a retrial.

Smith did not make any statement during the sentencing hearing, but his attorney said he plans to file an appeal.

The Nettles brothers were found with their heads wrapped in duct tape a day after they were abducted. Ricky Nettles' stomach had been branded with a burn in the shape of a clothing iron, according to testimony during Smith's preliminary hearing.

In court last month, Mitchell rejected a request by defense attorney Michael S. Evans for personal information about the jurors who convicted Smith. Evans said he wanted the information so he could prepare a motion for a new trial on grounds of possible juror misconduct.

Evans contended that a juror form had been wrongly filled out. He also said the jury improperly requested a cell-phone charger so they could look at Ponce's cell phone during deliberations, and improperly requested a Power Point presentation used by a prosecutor during closing arguments. Both of the jury's requests were denied during the trial.

Mitchell said she doesn't believe the panel's requests suggested any misconduct.

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. He has been jailed since his arrest in March 2011.