WHO BOUND A MEMPHIS MEDICAL EXAMINER WITH BARBED WIRE
AND A BOMB? "48 HOURS MYSTERY" SATURDAY, APRIL 23
Dr. O.C. Smith, a popular medical examiner in Memphis, Tenn., was apparently attacked on June 1, 2002, as he was leaving work. He was found wrapped head-to-toe in barbed wire with a bomb strapped to his neck. Dr. Smith survived, but he lives in fear that his assailant is waiting to attack again. Who wants to harm the city's medical examiner? Correspondent Troy Roberts reports for 48 HOURS MYSTERY: "Terror at the Morgue" to be broadcast Saturday, April 23 (10:00-11:00 PM, ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network.
The police immediately focused on a man Dr. Smith helped keep on death row -- Phillip Workman. But was it possible for a condemned criminal to conduct a terror campaign from behind prison walls? A multi-agency task force investigated the attack for more than a year and concluded that Workman had nothing to do with it. Workman, however, told investigators he thought Dr. Smith had staged the attack.
After an extensive investigation, Dr. Smith's story didn't make sense to authorities and the task force had no other suspects. Then, investigators became suspicious of Dr. Smith's account of the attack because he didn't fight his attacker, despite having a military background. Investigators also focused on inconsistencies in Dr. Smith's interrogations and wondered why he didn't have worse injuries than merely scratches after being tied up in barbed wire. "There would have to be some kind of injuries. It just doesn't add up," said paramedic Kelly Moore, who treated Dr. Smith the night of the incident.
Federal investigators ultimately took their evidence to a grand jury, which indicted Dr. Smith for lying to federal agents and illegal possession of a bomb. Dr. Smith was forced to resign, his reputation destroyed. Now, the veteran medical examiner faces the prospect of up to 20 years in prison after turning down a plea deal that would have required him to confess.
According to prosecutors, "the attack" is part of a long series of lies told by Dr. Smith over the years in a strange search for attention. A jury would decide if someone was really out to get the medical examiner or whether he could have gone to such great lengths to fake the attack and play the victim.
48 HOURS MYSTERY: "Terror at the Morgue" is produced by Doug Longhini, Clare Friedland and Deborah Grau. Al Briganti is the executive editor and Susan Zirinsky is the executive producer.