Suit filed over oncologist's prosecution

GREENWOOD, Miss. (AP) — Greenwood oncologist Arnold Smith is asking a federal judge to throw out a capital murder charge related to a shootout at a local law office.

Smith argues he is being illegally detained on the charge. It is an issue that has twice been rejected by state courts. Smith is scheduled for trial next April.

The Greenwood Commonwealth reports that Smith’s attorney, William Bell, filed the lawsuit in federal court this past Friday. A judge has not ruled on the motion. The attorney general’s office declined comment on the lawsuit.

Smith was arrested April 29, the morning after a shootout at the office of Greenwood attorney Lee Abraham. Smith is accused of offering Keaira Byrd $20,000 to kill Abraham. Smith has been indicted on a charge of capital murder for the death of Byrd and charges of conspiracy to commit the murder.

In the federal lawsuit, Bell said there is no legal justification for charging Smith with the death of Byrd, who was killed by an investigator.

In Mississippi, capital murder is defined as murder committed along with another crime.