Murder suspect waives right to arraignment

Andy Jackson: Freedom Newspapers

The attorney representing murder suspect James Smith waived his client’s right to an arraignment hearing in district court on Wednesday.

The Clovis dentist was arrested Tuesday and charged with killing Laura McNaughton, a single mother of two girls. McNaughton’s nude body was found by hunters on Dec. 10 in a ditch north of Clovis.

Smith, 36, is being held without bond at the Curry County Adult Detention Center.

Smith’s lawyer, Stephen Doerr, waived arraignment one hour before it was set to begin, according to the office of 9th Judicial District Court Judge Joe Parker. Doerr informed the court his client understands his rights and the charges against him, 9th Judicial District Attorney Matt Chandler said.

During an arraignment hearing, the court informs defendants of their charges and rights, Chandler said.
Doerr did not return calls to his office seeking comment on Wednesday.

Smith’s 2 1/2-year career as a dentist with La Casa Family Health Center was terminated Wednesday morning, according to a press release from the health center.
“We have no other comments than what’s issued on the statement,” said Jeanette Chavez, marketing director of La Casa Family Health Center.

“La Casa Family Health Center would like to express sincere sympathy to the family and friends of Laura McNaughton,” the release said.

Chandler has said Smith’s case will be presented to a grand jury in the next 10 days.