MEMPHIS, Tenn. – Prosecutors have decided against a retrial of a former medical examiner accused of staging a bizarre bomb attack against himself.
A mistrial was declared March 1 after three weeks of testimony against former Shelby County Medical Examiner Dr. O.C. Smith (search). The jury deadlocked 9-3 for acquittal.
Smith was found in a county morgue stairwell in June 2002 with his feet, hands and head wrapped in barbed wire and a bomb hung around his neck.
Smith said he was attacked by an unknown assailant who threw a caustic chemical in his face; he suffered scratches and minor chemical burns. Investigators eventually concluded the attack was staged.
Prosecutors claimed he suffered from a mental disorder that caused him to crave attention.
"Dr. Smith was brought to trial because prosecutors and investigators familiar with the evidence believed him to be guilty," U.S. Attorney Bud Cummins (search), a special prosecutor from Little Rock, said Monday. "That hasn't changed; however it is now questionable whether any jury could unanimously agree as to what happened."
Smith, a forensic pathologist, resigned last year after his indictment on charges of lying to federal investigators and illegally possessing a bomb. He could have gotten 20 years in prison on the charges.
"Throughout the whole ordeal I always remembered one thing, that the truth is my shield and the Lord is my shepherd, and it can't ever get any better than that," he said.
Cummins said he does not anticipate any further investigation in the case.