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Protesters Support Suspects in Alleged Lawyer Murder Plot that Ended in Law Office Shootout

Posted May 3, 2012 8:10 AM CDT
By Debra Cassens Weiss

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Protesters marched to a Mississippi courthouse on Tuesday to support two suspects in an alleged plot to murder a lawyer that ended with a law office shootout.

Suspect Keaira Byrd died in the Saturday evening shootout with agents of the Mississippi Attorney General’s office, while a second suspect, Derrick Lacy, was wounded. The lawyer, Lee Abraham of Greenwood, Miss., was not hurt. Police say Byrd and Lacy had been hired to murder Abraham and arrested two others in the alleged conspiracy—oncologist Arnold Smith and brickmason William Paul Muller. Abraham represented the ex-wives of Smith and Muller in the couples’ divorces, according to the Clarion Ledger.

Protest organizer Duchess Dallas told the Greenwood Commonwealth that Byrd and Lacy may have been involved, but others were also culpable. About 37 people marched to the Leflore County Courthouse in the protest chanting, "I am Lacy; I am Byrd.”

Early reports suggested investigators from the Attorney General’s office were surprised when the two alleged hit men burst into Abraham’s law office, but a police affidavit revealed the agents were expecting Lacy and Byrd. The two men had arranged the meeting, saying they wanted to sell Abraham a gun that could implicate Smith in a murder plot, according to the Greenwood Commonwealth and the Associated Press. Abraham invited the agents to the meeting, who already were investigating an alleged plot.

But when Lacy and Byrd arrived, police allege, Byrd was wearing a ski mask and carrying an assault weapon. Byrd fired the first shot, the police affidavit says. Lacy claimed he was forced to participate after overhearing a conversation in which Byrd was offered $20,000 to kill Abraham.

Smith is being held without bond while Muller was released on a $250,000 bond. Muller said he was innocent in a Facebook post, according to a different Greenwood Commonwealth story.

AP tells of long-time tension between Smith and Abraham. In April, Smith said he was stabbed by a man claiming to have compromising pictures of Abraham.

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