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Law enforcement affidavit released with account of the Greenwood murder for hire plot

The affidavit that was the basis for the search warrant of Dr. Smith’s home and office is now available, and has some interesting details about what happened that night and of a statement by the intruder into Abraham’s office who survived the incident.

Lee Abraham got a telephone call from someone who offered to sell Abraham an automatic weapon that Arnold Smith had given to the party to use to kill Abraham, saying that the weapon had Smith’s fingerprints and would be evidence in a murder-for-hire scheme initiated by Smith.

The would-be hit man calling the would-be victim to offer to meet to sell the weapon intended to be used in the hit.  Not the most clever trap, I don’t think.

Abraham called the Attorney General’s office, which sent investigators Larry Ware, Jerry Spell, and Tony Green.  They were contacted because there was an ongoing investigation of a plot to murder Abraham.

Abraham set up a meeting in his office on the evening of April 28th to get the weapon.  Keira Byrd and Derrick Lacy came into the office, Byrd wearing a mask and holding a firearm, with the “apparent intent” of killing Abraham.  Byrd fired at the officers and an exchange of gunfire occurred.  Byrd was killed and Lacy, severely injured, was taken to the Greenwood Leflore Hospital to await air transport to University Medical Center in Jackson.  While in the hospital, Lacy spoke to a Leflore County investigator and a Greenwood detective, telling them that he overheard on speakerphone Byrd talking to Arnold Smith, and Smith offering Byrd $20,000 to kill Abraham.  Lacy said they had not collected the money and that “Byrd forced him to participate in the attempted murder…”

What specifically was law enforcement expecting to find in the searches?  The affidavit grows kinda vague on that point.  Evidence.  The affidavit notes that people often uses computers, electronic devices, and even notepads to advance murder-for-hire schemes and expresses the hope that some of that stuff would turn up in a search.

The Clarion Ledger has a story that seems based on the coverage from the Greenwood Commonwealth, which put the affidavit online.  One odd artifact of it’s “editing” from several Commonwealth pieces:  The story leads with the emergence of the affidavit, which names the Attorney General investigators, but then, about half-way in, says:  “The names of the attorney general’s agents involved -including one who was wounded in the shooting – have not been released.”

The area tv stations seem to be going with the ask-folks-who-are-hanging-around-what-they’ve-heard approach.

Here’s the affidavit.

18 comments to Law enforcement affidavit released with account of the Greenwood murder for hire plot

  • Marie

    Why was the AG’s office contacted rather than local police? I’ve always been confused about the AG’s criminal jurisdiction….

  • Cbalducc

    WABG ran commercials about Dr. Smith’s oncology practice for a long time, with ex-patients saying “Dr. Smith saved my life”. But apparently the “good Dr. Smith” was being consumed by private obsessions and delusions for a long time – a classic Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. In the end, like Jekyll/Hyde, he destroyed others in addition to himself.

  • I’ve always been confused about the AG’s criminal jurisdiction

    It stops about 10 feet away from Dickie Scruggs and his co-conspirators. They’re like family, after all.

    … It still fills me with wonder that the GOP couldn’t find a candidate to beat a Democratic AG who said those words.

  • Your Lies Have Lies

    If Lee Abraham had called the Greenwood Police, he might not be alive today. Also, as noted earlier, their record is kinda …. suspect at best.

  • Bond hearing held this morning before Justice Court Judge Jim Campbell. Bond denied Dr. Smith, bond set at $250,000 for Paul Mueller.

    John Pittman Hey

  • FREE DR. SMITH

    The attorney general owed him favors. Remember in the letter.

  • Grace

    Could someone please explain Mr. Muller’s exact role in all of this is?

  • One crazy thing that happened at the initial appearance this morning for Smith and Muller: nobody could produce either the affidavit or arrest warrant for Muller. The Court went ahead and set bond anyway.

    So my questions to the criminal bar are these:

    a) how long can a person be held in jail without a judge somewhere finding probable cause to hold him?

    b) on what legal basis does a jailer hold a prisoner for whom he has no judicially approved order instructing him to hold the prisoner?

    Surely the cops cannot just arrest people, put them in jail, and hold them indefinitely without a judicial finding of probable cause?

    John Pittman Hey

  • As to Muller, the only info that the press has obtained is from the arrest docket at the county jail. Nobody in the public has seen the charging affidavit or an arrest warrant. The state couldn’t find one to present at the initial hearing this morning, but the judge said he would proceed since he “knew the charges.”

    John Pittman Hey

  • Ben

    the judge said he would proceed since he “knew the charges.”

    And we wonder why the rest of the nation laughs at us. Or hates us. Or both.

  • Jamilla

    I read the affidavit and it says that Byrd was killed during a burglary. That’s how they can charge Dr. Smith with capital murder, right? Do you expect me to believe that Byrd and Lacy would arrange an apt with Abraham if they intended to rob or murder him? And did Byrd and Lacy “break and enter” the Law Office or did the DA investigator standing outside let them in? Byrd was shot 6 times, 1 of which was in the head. The DA investigators should have training in guns. Does it really take 6 bullets, inc a bullet to the head, to de-arm a threat? And then Lacy was shot multiple times in the back? I’ve got some sense and none of this adds up. I think the truth will set Dr Smith free.

  • Jamilla,

    Presumably, the killers wanted to confront Abraham with a big gun. The Tech 9 is bigger than a revolver. The question is, how to find Abraham and get up close enough to kill him.

    The proposal was pretty brazen: set up a meeting with Abraham under the false pretext that they wanted to deliver the gun to him. That way, they would know where Abraham would be (at the agreed-upon meeting place), and Abraham would be expecting them to have a gun with them.

    That way, they could get right up to him and then turn on him at the last moment.

    So the arrangement of the appointment was under false pretenses and was an integral part of their plot to assassinate him.

    At least, that’s how I understand it was supposed to work.

    We will all have to decide for ourselves what sort of intellect it would take to come up with so bold, yet flawed, a scheme.

    John Pittman Hey

  • Ben,

    Can you answer this, please? What does it take, legally, to “charge” somebody? What sort of document should exist describing the charges at the initial appearance?

    Thanks.

    John Pittman Hey

  • NMC

    JPH, there is apparently an affidavit outlining the facts for the issuance of the arrest warrant. While those can be bare bones to a fault (and I mean fault here– I’ve seen an arrest warrant in which the cop swore that the arrestee had committed the crime as if the cop knew it of their own personal knowledge), they are supposed to outline some information about the factual basis for the charge, not unlike the one used to arrest Zimmerman in the Florida case. There was a reference to the affidavit being missing in the courtroom at the Justice Court hearing in the Greenwood Commonwealth article.

    But you should get some idea of what the basis for the charge against both of them would be from that affidavit. Of course we know how they charged Smith from the affidavit for the search warrant, but the lynchpin of that case (the statement by the hit man’s associate) doesn’t make reference to the other alleged plotter. I’ve seen not one indication why they had a basis to arrest him.

    And surely they have more than the statement against Smith? What were they learning in the investigation prior to last Saturday night?

  • Jamilla

    All the street boys know when you wanna do someone in, you surprise them. Catch them hopping out of their car late at night when they get home and then speed off. You don’t make an apt in an office across the street from the court house. Even cracked out thugs have more sense. You are not giving the street boys enough credit.

  • Jamilla,

    People who are familiar with Leflore County and its courthouse know that it is abandoned in the evenings. Law enforcement has no presence there. So actually, comitting a crime in the shadow of the courthouse is a pretty safe bet after dark and on weekends.

    As for the thugs having more sense: I don’t think they came up with the scheme. Read what I wrote: what sort of intellect came up with so bold, yet flawed, a scheme?

    I don’t think it was their idea at all.

    John Pittman Hey

  • I have some idea that law enforcement had more info than they’ve let on in the affidavit, etc.

    But the problem is, nobody has demonstrated that an affidavit or arrest warrant even exist in Muller’s case.

    Today, Greenwood PD refused to release a copy of either to the Commonwealth.

    John Pittman Hey

  • NMC

    I just posted about that story, JPH, and the one about the very odd protest.

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