Anthony Wayne Smith, the 11th overall pick in the 1990 NFL draft who spent eight years with the Raiders, has been ordered to stand trial for four murders and could face the death penalty.
A Los Angeles County judge ruled after a four-day preliminary hearing that there is sufficient evidence for the 45-year-old Smith to stand trial. All four murder charges will be part of one trial, and the charges make him eligible for the death penalty, although the prosecution has not decided whether to pursue it.
In April, Smith’s trial for a 2008 killing of a man found stomped, beaten and shot in Southern California ended in a hung jury, with eight jurors voting guilty and four jurors voting not guilty. Now Smith will face a retrial for that killing and also stand trial for the 1999 shooting deaths of two brothers, and for the 2001 stabbing death of another man.
Smith’s lawyer says prosecutors have no physical evidence and no motive.
Smith was a talented defensive end who had double-digit sacks in each of his first three seasons, but his career fell short of expectations as personal issues began to affect his play. During the 1996 season the Raiders suspended him after he failed to show up for a game, and after the 1997 season he opted out of his contract with the Raiders but didn’t sign with another team. A year later, according to prosecutors, he committed his first murder.