The Greenwood Commonwealth reports that Circuit Judge Breland Hilburn on Tuesday rejected Dr. Arnold Smith's argument that he was being illegally detained on a charge of capital murder.
Prosecutors said Smith hired people to kill attorney Lee Abraham, who represented Smith's ex-wife in the couple's divorce years ago. Authorities say one of the suspected hit men was killed by law-enforcement officers in an April 28 shootout at Abraham's law office in downtown Greenwood. Abraham was not injured.
Smith. 70, was indicted on one count of capital murder and two counts of conspiracy to commit murder.
Two other men — Derrick Lacy and Cordarious Robinson — are charged in the case. Lacy was indicted on one count each of capital murder and conspiracy. Robinson was indicted on one count of conspiracy. He also was indicted on one count of being a felon in possession of a firearm.
Smith and Lacy, 25, are being held without bond at the Leflore County Jail. Robinson, 22, is out on bond.
Smith's attorneys contended there is no legal justification for charging Smith with the death of a man he allegedly hired to kill attorney Lee Abraham. Breland said the issue had already been settled by the Mississippi Supreme Court, which upheld an earlier denial of bond for Smith.
According to the police investigation, the conspiracy began with Smith offering to pay $20,000 to Keaira Byrd to kill Abraham, toward whom Smith has had a long-running animosity. Prosecutors say Byrd and Lacy contacted Abraham and told him of the plot, offering to sell Abraham an automatic weapon they said had been provided by Smith for the slaying.
Abraham made arrangements to meet the pair at his law office, across from the Leflore County Courthouse. He contacted the state attorney general's office to request that investigators to be present, according to authorities. Three were sent.
When Byrd and Lacy arrived, Byrd was wearing a ski mask and holding an assault weapon, investigators say. Gunfire was exchanged. Byrd, 23, was killed, and Lacy was severely injured. One of the attorney general's agents suffered a minor wound.
Smith and Lacy have been charged with causing Byrd's death by conspiring with him in the assassination plot. The slaying was upgraded to a capital offense because, according to the indictment, it occurred in connection with another felony being committed. The indictment says Lacy and Byrd committed burglary in gaining access to Abraham's office "by the use or subterfuge or trick."
Robinson's charges result from a separate alleged conspiracy with Smith to kill Abraham.
Information from: The Greenwood Commonwealth, http://www.gwcommonwealth.com