Judge denies bond in doctor/lawyer murder-for-hire case

GREENWOOD — Bond has again been denied for Dr. Arnold Smith but a judge says he may reconsider after the doctor undergoes a mental examination.

The Greenwood Commonwealth reports prosecutors told Judge Breland Hilburn that a bed is open for Smith at the State Hospital in Whitfield. They have not said when he might be moved from Greenwood to the hospital.

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 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.

Dr. Gilbert S. Macvaugh III, a forensic psychologist hired by the defense who previously declared Smith incompetent and unfit to stand trial, testified that he had administered two risk-assessment tests to the oncologist and believed he presented a low risk for future violence.

Macvaugh said that Smith does still present some risk, since he continues to suffer from a serious mental illness.

Hilburn said he would again take up the issue of bond after Smith undergoes a complete psychological diagnosis by the forensics unit at the state hospital.

“There certainly is a requirement that the court determine if the defendant does represent a threat to the community or to any particular individual,” said Hilburn. “And the evidence given by (Macvaugh) says that the man still suffers from a delusional disorder, and that there’s no way to control his access to firearms, or access to money or his ability to converse with other individuals, and that puts the court in the posture of being unable to comfortably grant bail at this time.”

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