Court rules judge to stay in murder-for-hire case

GREENWOOD — The Mississippi Supreme Court denied petitions filed by Dr. Arnold Smith’s defense team to remove Circuit Judge Breland Hilburn from the criminal case set to go to trial in April.

The Supreme Court issued an order this past week.

The 70-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 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. Smith’s trial is scheduled for Feb. 4.

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