Anthony Wayne Smith, a former football player for the Los Angeles Raiders, is accused of killing several men. In all, prosecutors believe that Smith is responsible for four cold-case deaths over the years. Two months after his football career came to close; prosecutors accused him of killing two men. In April, the case ended with a hung jury. Now, the native North Carolinian awaits a retrial. Additionally, prosecutors have filed three other cold-case murders against him.
Smith’s attorney denies his involvement in any of the deaths, but it seems as though the stories about the former football star’s past are as divided as the courtroom attempting to settle his case. On the one hand, Smith’s family and friends describe him as generous and loving, married to a San Bernardino County prosecutor for 14 years. However, Smith has had legal trouble in the past. Since his football career ended in 1997, he has been accused of arson and involvement in a bank-wire scam; though none of these charges resulted in a trial or conviction.
Smith was raised by a relative after his mother died when he was young and his family describes him as a compassionate people-person. As a football star, Smith was generous with his funds and donated a great deal of money to charities. He was a mentor-ambassador to children in L.A through a youth program and gave young people amusement park tickets, meals, or tickets to Raider’s events. However, in an early interview, the football player claimed that he killed to friends with a stolen car when he was eight years old.
Later, Smith recanted the tale but never explained why he lied. As time passed, Smith’s teammates and those close to him noticed that he became increasingly suspicious of the people around him. “I have grown to despise it,” he said in an interview nearly two decades ago, “someone’s desire to trick me or cheat me out of what I have. That makes me sick.” Two years later, he was suspended after failing to show up at the airport of the fifth game of the season. Smith remained defensive of his reputation, though.
“I’m doing things that are positive,” he said after denying the story about the stolen car, “and if you guys can’t deal with that, I’m sorry. I don’t want my name to be connected with things that aren’t productive.” Howie Long, another former Raiders start, claims that Smith was somewhat volatile. “As talented as he was,” said the Hall of Fame defensive lineman, he was a very emotionally complex young guy.” Smith has already appeared in court in Lancaster, CA, and is scheduled to be arraigned this Wednesday.