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Judge drops capital murder charge against Delta doctor

GREENWOOD — A judge has dismissed a charge of capital murder against Greenwood Dr. Arnold Smith, who is charged in arranging an attack on a local attorney.

The Greenwood Commonwealth reports Circuit Judge Breland Hilburn decided that prosecutors’ indictment of Smith does not support a capital murder charge.

Hilburn ruled prosecutors can pursue the lesser charge of depraved heart murder, one that describes an action so careless and callous as to result in the ending of a person’s life.

Hilburn also rescheduled Smith’s trial for May 20.

The 71-year-old Smith is charged with murder as the alleged instigator of a plot that ended with the death of gunman Keaira Byrd and the wounding Derrick Lacy. Byrd allegedly had been hired to kill attorney Lee Abraham, who represented Smith’s ex-wife in their divorce years ago. Abraham was not injured in the incident in April of 2012.

Smith has also been charged with two counts of conspiring to murder Abraham.

Smith has been held without bail since his arrest.

Authorities said Byrd died from a gunshot to the head, fired by an unnamed investigator from the attorney general’s office. Abraham had contacted the attorney general’s office.

Hilburn has ordered a separate trial for Lacy, set for April 22. Lacy is charged with capital murder in Byrd’s death and conspiring with Smith to kill Abraham.


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