Anthony Wayne Smith Charged With Murder, Torture, Kidnapping: Ex-NFLer Facing Death Penalty?

Anthony Wayne Smith, former star NFL player for the Oakland Raiders, was charged for three murders of three men: Kevin Nettles, Ricky Nettles, and Dennis Henderson. The ex-defensive end is also accused of kidnapping, torture, and plans to commit robbery.

Anthony Wayne Smith had a criminal complaint lodged against him by the Los Angeles County district attorney's office July 2. While the former NFL player was originally charged with the murder of Maurilo Ponce in 2008, the new charge also includes the additional three murders.

"This came as quite a surprise," Smith's defense attorney Michael S. Evans told the Long Beach Press-Telegram. He was certain to note that his client would plead "not guilty" to the charges, however.

The criminal complaint recounts horrific abuses of the Nettles brothers, who were allegedly kidnapped in 1999 from a carwash by fake police officers, who handcuffed them. Later, their bodies were discovered apparently tortured and shot by a pistol.

Similarly, in 2001, Dennis Henderson and Terry Ware were kidnapped as well by armed men. Though Ware was released for currently unknown reasons, Henderson was found tortured, stabbed, and robbed, according to Sandi Gibbons, a D.A. spokeswoman.

As of now, a motive for the atrocities allegedly committed by Smith is a mystery. A decision to file capital charges, though, means that Smith could face the death penalty if found guilty. The district attorney has said she will not make a formal decision until "closer to the trial."

Smith is currently awaiting a retrial after a jury was hopelessly deadlocked because of an 8 to 4 jury ruling in the case of the murder of Maurilo Ponce. The 31-year-old's body was found with six gunshot wounds, including two to the head.

The ex-NFLer played football for the Raiders from 1991 to 1997. His arraignment for the charges is July 17.