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Criminal Justice

Did Suspect Physician’s Obsession with Attorney in Claimed Murder Conspiracy Go Beyond Divorce Case?

Posted May 29, 2012 5:54 PM CDT
By Martha Neil

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A 64-year-old Mississippi lawyer might seem an unlikely target for a 70-year-old physician's claimed obsession.

However, individuals who know attorney Lee Abraham Jr. and Dr. Arnold Smith Jr. said they weren't surprised when the physician was criminally charged after an April 28 shootout between an alleged hit man and law enforcement agents in Abraham's office across from the the Leflore County Courthouse, the Clarion-Ledger reports.

Why on earth would a physician known for his cancer treatment work allegedly be involved in such a scenario? News accounts have cited a divorce in which Abraham represented Smith's ex-wife. But the tension between the two men involves more than just that one case, some say:

"Arnold has been on this kick that the Abrahams, including Lee's brother Sam, the chancery clerk, are crooked and stealing the county blind," minister John Pittman Hey told the newspaper.

"He would order videos from me of supervisors or city council meetings, take snippets from them and raise public integrity questions about the Abrahams, then post the edited clips on the Internet.

"Finally, I refused to sell Arnold more videos because he refused to stop posting them anonymously."

Smith is in jail, charged with conspiracy to commit murder and capital murder concerning the death of Keaira Byrd, who authorities claim had been recruited to take out Abraham when he came to the attorney's office.

Abraham is not accused of any wrongdoing.

Related coverage:

ABAJournal.com: "Protesters Support Suspects in Alleged Lawyer Murder Plot that Ended in Law Office Shootout"

ABAJournal.com: "Testimony: Doc Said He Wanted to See Photo of Ex’s Divorce Lawyer with ‘Bullet Between His Eyes’"

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