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.