In the grassy parkway on West Adams Avenue, just three houses off Grand Boulevard, parked cockeyed with the back bumper against a crape myrtle and the front bumper facing the street, sits a little piece of Greenwood history.
It could appear to be just another 1984 Lincoln Town Car with nothing to distinguish it from any other “land yacht,” as car owner Mary Fountain calls it. Nothing except the message scrawled on the passenger window, setting the price at “$5,000 OBO, as is, 79,890 original miles, previously owned by Dr. Arnold Smith.”
And there it is. Besides the sprawling mid-century modern house with the pool and tennis court at the north end of Grand, recently marked down to sell at $399,000 from the opening $495,000 when it went on the market about a year ago, the Town Car may be the only other reminder of one man’s alleged involvement in the 2012 fatal shooting at the downtown Greenwood law offices of Lee Abraham.
A lawsuit filed by Abraham against Smith over the matter was resolved in January in a confidential agreement. Smith, a former Greenwood oncologist, had been charged with murder and conspiracy to commit murder, accused of hiring a hitman to try to kill Abraham. The incident ended with the alleged hitman shot dead and his alleged accomplice wounded by agents of the Mississippi Attorney General’s Office. Abraham was not injured.
Smith was declared mentally unfit to stand trial but then freed from the Mississippi State Hospital at Whitfield and allowed to live with his wife in their upscale Jackson home under strict guidelines of what he can and cannot do, including being prohibited from traveling to Greenwood.
The Town Car isn’t going to visit Jackson any time soon, unless it gets a new solenoid in the starter and a new float in the gas tank. Fountain said the broken float fools the computer into thinking there’s no gas in the car and shuts down the engine.
Besides that, it looks to be in good shape for a 1984 car. The red velour interior with the woodgrain dash could use some cleaning, but the metal is shiny and without rust. A couple of wasps flew out of the rear door when it was opened, so an exterminator, or some bug spray, may be needed.
Fountain kept the original title and bill of sale when she bought the car. “It didn’t get changed,” she said. “It says Dr. Arnold Smith on the title.”
Fountain said the car was running when she bought it.
“It’s got a powerful motor in it,” she said, recalling when she backed it up on Adams to Grand, then gunned it and left rubber on the street past Mercury Lane.
She’s been a gearhead for a long time and once rebuilt a 1972 Chevelle, one of the preferred classics for people who like muscle cars.
“My daddy was Fred Fountain,” she said. “He had the only Harley Davidson shop in Greenwood.”
Now retired from the Air Force and disabled with a back injury, Fountain said she can’t work on cars too much anymore. She thought maybe the Town Car wouldn’t need much work.
“It’s a Lincoln,” she said. “I thought that car would fly. It’s a land yacht.”
Fountain said the car started giving her problems after she brought it back from Grenada, where the mechanic failed to fix it. “I drove it downtown, and it went dead,” she said.
It was night, and Fountain had the hood up at the curb, trying to figure out how to get it started, when a car pulled up behind her and a man called her by name and asked if she needed a ride home. “It was Mr. Lee Abraham,” she said.
Fountain thinks $600 to $700 would get the car going again. An online search shows the $5,000 asking price is in range of others for sale, if the car were running. And Fountain said she didn’t jack the price up because of the association with Dr. Smith.
“No,” she said. “I just thought people would find it interesting.”
•Contact Gavin Maliska at 581-7235 or firstname.lastname@example.org.