The Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office confirmed Monday it will not seek the death penalty for former Raiders defensive end Anthony Wayne Smith, who is charged in four killings nearly a decade apart.
Jurors deadlocked 8-4 in April 2012, unable to agree on whether Smith had murdered 31-year-old Maurilio Ponce on Oct. 7, 2008. Ponce was found shot to death near the Antelope Valley poppy fields, about 11 miles west of Lancaster.
While awaiting retrial, Smith was charged with three other murders. The 47-year-old ex-pro football player, held without bail since his arrest in March of 2011, stands accused in the Nov. 10, 1999, shooting deaths of Kevin and Ricky Nettles and the June 25, 2001, stabbing death of Dennis Henderson.
The charges include the special circumstance allegations of multiple murders, torture and kidnapping involving the Nettles brothers and Henderson and the robbery of Ponce.
The Nettles brothers were found with their heads wrapped in duct tape and Ricky’s stomach was burned in the shape of a clothes iron, according to testimony at Smith’s latest preliminary hearing.
In the 2012 trial, the jury found Smith’s co-defendant, Dewann Wesley White, guilty of first-degree murder. White was sentenced to 25 years to life in prison.
The conviction of a second co-defendant, Charles Eric Honest, was reversed by a state appeals court panel in September due to insufficient evidence.
Smith is due back in court Jan. 14 for a pretrial hearing on the four murder counts. Based on the prosecutor’s decision, he will face life in prison without the possibility of parole.
Smith, the Raiders’ top pick in 1990 out of the University of Arizona, played pro football for the Los Angeles and Oakland Raiders between 1991 and 1997.
— City News Service