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Doctor accused of murder-for-hire plot hits another legal snag

A Greenwood doctor accused of attempting to have his ex-wife’s divorce attorney murdered has hit another roadblock in his efforts to have the charges dismissed.

A judge has denied renewed arguments by Dr. Arnold Smith that all investigative and police actions carried out by the Mississippi Attorney General’s Office are unconstitutional.

The Greenwood Commonwealth reports that Circuit Judge Breland Hilburn this past week dismissed the motion filed by William Bell of Ridgeland, the attorney for Smith. Hilburn ruled against two similar motions in the past.

Smith, 71, 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 was hired to kill attorney Lee Abraham, who represented Smith’s ex-wife in their divorce years ago. Abraham was not injured.

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

Abraham had contacted the attorney general’s office, which sent investigators to be with Abraham when Byrd and Lacy showed up.

Smith is being held at the Mississippi State Hospital at Whitfield after Hilburn ruled in December that the physician was mentally unfit to stand trial.

Smith will continue to undergo evaluation at Whitfield for at least eight months, when another hearing will be held to re-examine his competency.

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