Coroner left tied to bomb
MEMPHIS, Tennessee: For Shelby County medical examiner O.C. Smith, it was a Saturday night to forget - he was attacked, bound with barbed wire and dumped with a bomb tied to his body.
Dr Smith, who gave controversial evidence in an inquest into the death last November of leading infectious diseases researcher Don Wiley and testified against police killer Philip Workman a few months before that, escaped with minor injuries.
The bomb appeared similar to a crude explosive device found in March in a stairway of the Shelby County Regional Forensic Centre, where Dr Smith and his staff worked.
US medical examiners perform autopsies on the bodies of crime victims and often provide data used in prosecutions.
Dr Smith had chemicals thrown in his face as he left the forensic centre on Saturday night. A security guard found him 2 1/2 hours later, tied with barbed wire and lying near a parking lot. The bomb was removed and disabled with an explosive charge, police said.
Last June during court hearings on Workman's attempt to avoid execution, authorities received an anonymous letter threatening Dr Smith and referring to Workman as an innocent "lamb of God".
Workman was convicted of killing a Memphis police officer in 1981 but argued the officer had been slain by a bullet from one of his colleagues' guns. Dr Smith gave evidence Workman fired the fatal shot.
Dr Smith's ruling in January this year that Wiley's death was the accidental result of a rare medical condition -- he fell off a Memphis bridge in mysterious conditions -- angered US conspiracy theorists. They noted the AIDS and ebola researcher was one of at least 12, and perhaps as many as 20, prominent scientists to die in strange circumstances in the space of a few months.