As former Raiders defensive end Anthony Wayne Smith was poised to face a new trial on a murder rap that resulted in a hung jury on April 18, a court document released Tuesday reveals that Smith has been charged with three — yes, three — additional murders.
According to the Long Beach Press-Telegram, authorities filed the new charges on Monday.
“This came as quite a surprise,” lawyer Michael S. Evans said after learning of the new charges a mere 45 minutes before jury selection was scheduled to commence.
Previously charged with killing Maurilio Ponce on October 7, 2008, the 45-year-old Smith now stands accused of the November 10, 1999 deaths of Kevin and Ricky Nettles and the June 25, 2001 murder of Dennis Henderson. The indictment alleges “special circumstances” via the infliction of torture and the multiple murders, making Smith a candidate for the death penalty.
Smith spent seven seasons with the Raiders, appearing in 98 games with 43 starts.
The pending quartet of murder charges hardly constitute Smith’s first exposure to the legal system. In 2003, he was charged with arson in connection with a blaze that caused $4 million in damage to a furniture store. The case was dismissed after a pair of juries couldn’t come to a unanimous verdict.
Smith and his wife later filed a federal lawsuit against the arresting officer, alleging false arrest, malicious prosecution, and suppression of exculpatory evidence. The case was dismissed via a grant of summary judgment, which was upheld by an appeals court.
The stakes this time around are much more significant. Based on his past experiences with the criminal side of the justice system, however, Smith could walk away once again.