Mistrial in former Raider Anthony Smith murder trial

Anthony Smith of the Los Angeles and Oakland Raiders (photo by Los Angeles Times)

Former Raider defensive end, Anthony Smith, was on trial for murder and on Wednesday the jury failed to reach a verdict, resulting in a mistrial. Smith was on trial, accused of being involved in the killing of 31-year-old mechanic Maurilio Ponce on Oct. 7, 2008 in Lancaster California.

According to the report by Ann M Simmons of the LA Times, the jury deliberated for nine days and ended up split 8 to 4 for a guilty verdict.

Smith is being charged with first degree murder which carries with it a life sentence. He was one of three defendants in the case who were being charged with the murder of Ponce. One of the defendants was found guilty last week of second degree murder while Smith and the other defendant will remain in custody and be retried.

The defense attorney used the fact that there was no physical evidence, such as DNA or a gun with Smith's fingerprints, to tie him to the crime as reasonable doubt. While prosecution was using cell phone tracking technology to place Smith and his two alleged accomplices near where Ponce's body was found with six gunshot wounds, including two to the head.

According to the report:

...[the three defendants] coordinated, eventually hooked up, headed to Lancaster to allegedly kill Ponce, and then returned to Los Angeles. A phone call Smith made to Ponce at 11:07 p.m. finally lured the victim from his house and to his death, [Deputy District Attorney, Taly] Peretz said.

She pointed out that after Ponce was known to be dead, the victim's cellphone - later found with Smith - was "pinging off" towers in the area where the cellphones of Honest and White were also registering.

But Evans, the defense attorney, argued that if Smith killed Ponce, why would he have called Ponce's phone almost half a dozen times the morning after his death?

"There would be no reason to call Ponce if he knew he was dead and [Smith] had his truck and his phone," Evans said.

To read the entire report, Click Here

Anthony Smith was drafted by the Los Angeles Raiders with the 11th overall pick in the 1990 draft. He played seven seasons in the NFL, all for the Raiders. He averaged 12 sacks per season over his first three seasons as a situational pass rusher. He became a full time starter in 1994 and his sack production went down. He averaged 6.5 sacks over three of his final four seasons in the NFL. The North Carolina native, stayed in Los Angeles after retirement in 1997.

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