A former oncologist indicted in a murder-for-hire plot is being moved from the Mississippi State Hospital at Whitfield to a private mental health facility.
A judge has signed an order for Dr. Arnold Smith to be transferred to Pine Grove Behavioral Health & Addiction Services in Hattiesburg, The Greenwood Commonwealth reports.
Smith was indicted in 2012 in a conspiracy to kill Greenwood attorney Lee Abraham. Prosecutors said Smith had a longstanding grudge against Abraham, who represented his former wife in the couple’s divorce.
Smith’s alleged hit men, Keaira Byrd and Derrick Lacy, were involved in a shootout at Abraham’s office April 28, 2012. Byrd was shot and killed by agents of the Mississippi Attorney General’s Office, and Lacy was severely wounded. Abraham was not injured.
Smith, who was not at the shootout, was indicted on charges of capital murder and conspiracy to commit murder. In 2014, he was found mentally unfit to stand trial and was committed to the state mental hospital.
Under the order signed Thursday by Hinds County Chancery Judge Denise Owens, Smith will be allowed to live with his current wife at their Jackson home after he finishes treatment in Hattiesburg. He will be banned from contacting Abraham, Attorney General Jim Hood or members of Hood’s staff. Smith also could not contact his alleged co-conspirators, Lacy and Cordarious Robinson, and Smith could not travel to Greenwood.
Tulane University physicians examined Smith earlier this year and recommended he be released for outpatient treatment.
A civil lawsuit Abraham filed against Smith is expected to go to trial in March.
Lacy is charged with capital murder in Byrd’s death and conspiracy to commit murder for the alleged plot against Abraham.
Robinson is charged with conspiracy to commit murder. He was also charged with possession of a weapon by a convicted felon.