GREENWOOD — A Greenwood oncologist and two other men have been indicted in a murder-for-hire plot that prosecutors say unsuccessfully targeted a local attorney.
The Greenwood Commonwealth reports Dr. Arnold Smith, Derrick Lacy and Cordarious Robinson were served with indictments this week. A Leflore County grand jury issued the indictments in August, but the documents weren’t made public until they were served.
Prosecutors say Smith hired people to kill attorney Lee Abraham, who represented Smith’s ex-wife in the couple’s divorce years ago. Authorities say one of the suspected hit men was killed by law-enforcement officers in an April 28 shootout at Abraham’s law office in downtown Greenwood. Abraham was not injured.
Smith was indicted on one count of capital murder and two counts of conspiracy to commit murder.
Lacy was indicted on one count each of capital murder and conspiracy.
Robinson was indicted on one count of conspiracy. He also was indicted on one count of being a felon in possession of a firearm.
Capital murder, defined as the commission of murder along with another felony, is punishable by the death penalty.
The three men are scheduled for arraignment Oct. 22.
The newspaper reports that Paul Muller, who had been charged with conspiracy to commit murder, was not indicted.
Smith, 70, and Lacy, 25, are being held without bond at the Leflore County Jail. Robinson, 22, is out on bond.
Although Smith has been writing to the Greenwood Commonwealth regularly during his five-month incarceration, his attorney, William Bell of Ridgeland, has continued to decline to discuss the case.
“The only thing I can say is what we’ve said from the beginning,” Bell said Wednesday. “Everything that we have to say about it will be in court.”
According to the police investigation, the conspiracy began with Smith offering to pay $20,000 to Keaira Byrd to kill Abraham, toward whom Smith has had a long-running animosity. Prosecutors say Byrd and Lacy contacted Abraham and told him of the plot, offering to sell Abraham an automatic weapon they said had been provided by Smith for the slaying.
Abraham made arrangements to meet the pair at his law office, across from the Leflore County Courthouse. He contacted the state attorney general’s office to request that investigators to be present, according to authorities. Three were sent.
When Byrd and Lacy arrived, Byrd was wearing a ski mask and holding an assault weapon, investigators say. Gunfire was exchanged. Byrd, 23, was killed, and Lacy was severely injured. One of the attorney general’s agents suffered a minor wound.
Smith and Lacy have been charged with causing Byrd’s death by conspiring with him in the assassination plot. The slaying was upgraded to a capital offense because, according to the indictment, it occurred in connection with another felony being committed. The indictment says Lacy and Byrd committed burglary in gaining access to Abraham’s office “by the use or subterfuge or trick.”
Robinson’s charges result from a separate alleged conspiracy with Smith to kill Abraham.
According to the indictment, sometime between Nov. 1, 2011, and the April 28 shootout, Smith agreed to pay Robinson an undisclosed amount of money to obtain a firearm or firearms that could be used by an unnamed hit man to kill Abraham.
On or about April 25, according to the weapons charge, Robinson was unlawfully in possession of two firearms — a .45-caliber semiautomatic handgun and a .357 Magnum revolver pistol. Neither is the weapon with which Byrd was armed, investigators said.