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Doctor's murder-for-hire case postponed, mental evaluation pending

GREENWOOD — A trial in the murder-for-hire case against a Greenwood oncologist has been postponed indefinitely.

Circuit Judge Breland Hilburn issued the order this past week because the court is waiting on Dr. Arnold Smith’s evaluation at a state mental facility.

The case was to have gone to trial yesterday in Leflore County Circuit Court.

Circuit Clerk Elmus Stockstill tells the Greenwood Commonwealth reports Dr. Arnold Smith, 71, is supposed to be evaluated this week and another hearing to consider the doctor’s bond will follow. No new trial date has been set.

Smith is charged with murder as the alleged instigator of a plot that ended with the death of gunman Keaira Byrd and the serious 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.

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

He has been held without bail since his arrest April 29, 2012, the day after the shooting.

In January, Hilburn ordered Smith be sent to the Mississippi State Hospital at Whitfield for a psychological evaluation after his defense team proclaimed the doctor mentally incompetent to stand trial. Prosecutors said they had been waiting for a bed to open at the facility in Rankin County.

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