LANCASTER, Calif. (Reuters) - A Southern California jury on Thursday convicted former Oakland Raiders defensive end Anthony Wayne Smith on three counts of first-degree murder, but the judge declared a mistrial for a fourth count.
The 48-year-old onetime National Football League star, whose original trial in one of the killings ended in a hung jury, faces a maximum sentence of life in prison without the possibility of parole.
The Los Angeles County Superior Court jury also found Smith guilty of special allegations of torture and kidnapping in the three slayings for which he was convicted.
Smith sat quietly next to his lawyer as he listened to a court clerk announce the verdict.
The convictions stem from the November 1999 slayings of brothers Kevin and Ricky Nettles, who were abducted from a car wash and found fatally shot the next day, and the June 2001 beating and stabbing death of Dennis Henderson.
"Justice will be served," Alicia Tribble, a sister-in-law of the Nettles brothers, said after the verdict was read. "All my nieces and nephews will have some closure. We won't bring them back, but at least the person who is responsible will pay for what he has done."
The jury was apparently unable to reach the unanimous decision required for a verdict on a fourth count of murder stemming from the October 2008 killing of an associate, Maurilio Ponce, who was found shot to death on a roadside.
A separate jury in 2011 deadlocked 8-4 in favor of a guilty verdict against Smith in the Ponce death, leading to a first mistrial.
Prosecutors said they would decide in December whether to retry Smith again in that case.
(Reporting by Olga Grigoryants; Writing by Steve Gorman; Editing by Mohammad Zargham)