The Los Angeles Criminal Law Blog

Former Raider Anthony Smith Charged For 4 Murders; Death Penalty?

A former Los Angeles and Oakland Raiders first round draft pick, already facing a retrial on a Palmdale murder charge, now faces another three gruesome murder charges, reports the Los Angeles Times. Anthony Smith, who played defensive end for the team from 1991 to 1997, faces the possibility of the death penalty, though a decision on whether to pursue the ultimate punishment will be made closer to the time of trial.

The 2008 Palmdale murder of Maurilo Ponce, 31, was tried back in April, but ended in an 8-4 hung jury leaning towards guilt. Ponce was shot six times, including twice to the head.

The three new charges are for the deaths of brothers Kevin and Ricky Nettles and Dennis Henderson. Kevin and Ricky Nettles were kidnapped in 1999 from a carwash. Two suspects disguised as police officers zip-tied the brothers' wrists together before abducting them. They were found the next day, with signs of torture and 9-millimeter gunshot wounds.

Dennis Henderson was murdered in 2001. He was kidnapped, along with Terry Ware, by several armed suspects. Ware was later released. Henderson was later found dead in a rental car, beaten, tortured, robbed, and stabbed.

A capital case can be brought in California if special aggravating circumstances exist beyond the murder itself. Included in these special circumstances are torture and multiple murders. Murders committed during the commission of a robbery also qualify.

Anthony Smith's defense attorney for the Ponce murder, Michael S. Evans, was informed of the new charges 45 minutes before jury selection was set to begin on the retrial for the Ponce murder. He referred to the new charges as a "surprise."

Apparently, he's not familiar with the reputation of the Raider Nation.

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