Vanity’s Ex Husband Was Sentenced To 3 Life Terms In Prison Following Horrific Crime
Anthony Smith, ex-husband of the late former Vanity 6 lead singer, Denise “Vanity” Matthews, was recently convicted of murdering three men in 1999 and 2001.
In 2014, Anthony was convicted in a Lancaster, Ca. court for the 1999 murders and kidnapping of brothers/business owners, Kevin and Ricky Nettles, and the 2001 murder of Dennis Henderson. Smith might also be re-tried in a fourth murder case for the 2008 shooting death of Maurilio Ponce, a 31-year-old auto-mechanic. That particular 2012 Ponce case ended in a mistrial after the jury was deadlocked.
The Nettles brothers’ bodies were found with their heads wrapped in duct tape. Henderson was found stabbed and brutally beaten to death in the back of a rental car.
Aside from being Vanity’s ex-husband, Anthony may look familiar to you because he is the former star NFL defensive end for the Oakland Raiders (from 1991-1997). After parting ways with the Raiders in 1997, he signed with the Denver Broncos before suddenly walking away from that contract and retiring from the NFL altogether. That’s when life begin to spiral out of control for Anthony, and his friends and family say he had two personalities- a short tempered man who can be cold at times; and the 6’4″ 320 pound gentle giant with very polite manners.
It was during this time that Anthony and Vanity had a short marriage and an even shorter courtship. Word on the old school curb is that Vanity met Anthony, who was eight years her junior, and she actually proposed to him 3 DAYS later. Wow, it must have been love at first sight.
Everything wasn’t all good with their marriage though. Here is what was reported by GQ Magazine about their tumultuous relationship:
After reading an article about the young Raider, Denise Matthews, a.k.a. Vanity, now a born-again Christian, arranged a meeting with Anthony. Three days later she proposed to him, and one month after they met, he made her his second wife. (He’d had a brief marriage to a young actress a few years earlier.) But this new marriage, too, quickly turned to dust, recalls Dwayne Simon, a friend of Anthony’s from that time. Dwayne remembers one uncomfortable team-family breakfast before a Raiders game when Denise said or did something that made Anthony furious. “He grabbed her by the arm, made her sit down,” says Dwayne, a producer with the L.A. Posse and Def Jam who arranged music for Raiders games. “She tried to get up, but he snatched her back down: ‘Get down!’ I was really scared for Vanity. I thought he was going to break her friggin’ arm.”
At the same time, Smith was telling one of his rich-white-businessman friends that he had helped Denise get a kidney. (Her body was hard hit from years of drug use before she swore off that life and turned to God.) What a good guy. What an angry one. Was one of those Anthony’s more true than the other? Or had he just become a violent man who knew how to shine?
It’s a good thing Vanity got away from Anthony before things escalated to the point of no return.
After he and Vanity divorced, Anthony married his third and current wife, attorney Theresa White. Theresa had previously supported Anthony in his past trials, but in his most recent murder trials, there was no one in the courtroom for Anthony, except his defense attorney. The families and children of the murder victims were in the court in full effect though.
Friends and family of Anthony Smith reported that he’d changed a lot and had isolated most of them from his life and befriended gangsters instead.
Those three murders aren’t the only legal trials Anthony has seen. In 2003 he got into a heated argument with a female owner of a furniture store in Santa Monica, Ca. over money. Soon after the argument, the store was set on fire using homemade firebombs that were stuffed with a bunch of mail from Anthony’s home. It had his name and his address on it. Prosecutors just knew that case was a for sure win, but Anthony was tried twice for arson in the case and both times the jury deadlocked. Also, several of his friends, who were alleged gang members, sat in court every day of the trial and stared down the jury. It isn’t certain if that invoked any type of fear into the jurors though, or if they sincerely believed Anthony didn’t commit the arson.
Fast forward to today and Anthony Smith is now serving three life terms without the possibility of parole. His attorneys say they plan to appeal the decision.
After seeing the details of Anthony’s story and his dissent into self destruction, it’s very difficult not to have thoughts of the movie, Concussion, floating through my mind. Thanks to Dr. Omalu Bennett (a forensic and neuropathologist played by Will Smith) study of the brains of NFL players, we now know that a brain condition, called CTE, will continue to affect many NFL players. CTE is the result of taking too many blows to the head, causing damage to the brain, which ultimately causes the players to began to act out in extremely violent, self-destructive ways and even commit suicide.
Maybe Anthony Smith just became a violent man on his own, or maybe he could be affected by CTE…who knows? The downfall is that there is no way to determine this, until after a player’s death. In the meantime, if he did those crimes, he deserves to do the time. We wish peace and comfort over the families of the victims.
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