Alex Murdaugh arranged for a man to kill him in a conspiracy to collect $10 million in life insurance for his son, authorities say

Alex Murdaugh, 53, was shot in the head in a roadway on September 4 however survived, and a household spokesperson had beforehand blamed the taking pictures on an unidentified man in a blue truck. However, Murdaugh admitted to authorities Monday that he had conspired with the man to kill him as a part of a suicidal fraud scheme, in accordance to an affidavit to help costs towards the alleged gunman.

Curtis Edward Smith, 61, was charged with assisted suicide, assault and battery of a excessive and aggravated nature, pointing and presenting a firearm, insurance fraud and conspiracy to commit insurance fraud, in accordance to the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division (SLED).

Murdaugh is described as a co-defendant in the affidavit, although no costs have been introduced towards him. Additional costs in the case are anticipated, SLED mentioned.

Murdaugh, an lawyer, had beforehand represented Smith in unrelated courtroom proceedings, courtroom paperwork present.

On NBC’s “Today” on Wednesday, Murdaugh’s lawyer Dick Harpootlian acknowledged the scheme, saying his consumer was depressed and suicidal due to the latest deaths of his wife, son and elderly father, in addition to his struggles with opioid dependancy.

In a assertion, attorneys Harpootlian and Jim Griffin mentioned their consumer “is not without fault” however added his “life has been devastated by an opioid addiction.”

“For the last 20 years, there have been many people feeding his addiction to opioids,” the attorneys mentioned. “During that time, these individuals took advantage of his addiction and his ability to pay substantial funds for illegal drugs. One of those individuals took advantage of his mental illness and agreed to take Alex’s life, by shooting him in the head.”

Murder and mystery in South Carolina: A timeline of the Murdaugh family killingsMurder and mystery in South Carolina: A timeline of the Murdaugh family killings

The admission and affidavit reply one a part of a sprawling thriller involving one of the crucial highly effective household dynasties in coastal South Carolina. Murdaugh’s father, grandfather and great-grandfather served for a mixed 87 years because the 14th Circuit Solicitor, which leads prosecutions for Allendale, Beaufort, Colleton, Hampton and Jasper counties in the state. Murdaugh was an lawyer for a native legislation agency.

More not too long ago, although, the household has been embroiled in a collection of bloody tragedies, together with the deadly shootings of Murdaugh’s wife Margaret, 52, and son Paul, 22, in June. Murdaugh referred to as 911 and reported he discovered them shot useless outdoors of their dwelling in Islandton, a small group about an hour north of Hilton Head Island, in accordance to authorities.
The killings haven’t been solved, and Murdaugh has denied accountability. The investigation into their deaths additionally led authorities to reopen the 2015 unsolved death of 19-year-old Stephen Smith in Hampton County.
Murdaugh faces different authorized and private points as effectively. His taking pictures on September 4 got here a day after he resigned from his legislation agency amid allegations he had misappropriated funds. Two days after the taking pictures, Murdaugh released a statement saying he was coming into rehab, and his legislation license has additionally been suspended.

“The murders of my wife and son have caused an incredibly difficult time in my life. I have made a lot of decisions that I truly regret,” he mentioned in the assertion. “I’m resigning from my law firm and entering rehab after a long battle that has been exacerbated by these murders. I am immensely sorry to everyone I’ve hurt including my family, friends and colleagues. I ask for prayers as I rehabilitate myself and my relationships.”

61-year-old charged with assisted suicide, conspiracy

Curtis Edward Smith, 61, allegedly shot Alex Murdaugh in the head as part of a conspiracy to commit insurance fraud, according to an affidavit.Curtis Edward Smith, 61, allegedly shot Alex Murdaugh in the head as part of a conspiracy to commit insurance fraud, according to an affidavit.

Murdaugh was not fatally wounded when he was shot on September 4. Afterward, he referred to as 911 to report he had been shot on a street in Hampton County, in accordance to SLED, and he was taken to a hospital in Savannah, Georgia.

Authorities initially described Murdaugh’s harm as a “superficial gunshot wound to the head,” although Murdaugh’s attorneys mentioned his cranium was fractured in the taking pictures.

A household spokesperson initially issued a assertion saying an unidentified man had shot Murdaugh. “Alex pulled over after seeing a low tire indicator light. A male driver in a blue pick-up asked him if he had car troubles, as soon as Alex replied, he was shot,” the assertion mentioned.

There is extra to the story, nonetheless, in accordance to the affidavit. ​

Murdaugh allegedly offered Smith, a 61-year-old from Colleton County, with a firearm and directed Smith to shoot him in the pinnacle, the affidavit states. The function of the scheme was for Smith to kill Murdaugh in order that his son might collect the life insurance payout, in accordance to the affidavit.

Smith admitted Tuesday to being current on the taking pictures and to disposing of the firearm afterward, the affidavit states.

South Carolina attorney resigns and enters rehab after being shot in the head months after deaths of his wife and sonSouth Carolina attorney resigns and enters rehab after being shot in the head months after deaths of his wife and son

Smith has additionally been charged with the distribution of methamphetamine and possession of marijuana in Colleton County, in accordance to SLED. The medicine had been discovered in a search of Smith’s dwelling on Tuesday, in accordance to the affidavit.

It’s not clear if Smith has retained authorized counsel right now. The Colleton County Sheriff’s Office mentioned Smith had a bond listening to on Wednesday morning and obtained a $5,000 money surety bond for the meth cost and a private recognizance bond for the marijuana cost.

Murdaugh had represented Smith as his lawyer on not less than two events relationship again to 2010, in accordance to courtroom data from the Colleton County 14th Judicial Circuit.

He first represented Smith in a private harm lawsuit that Smith introduced towards a land administration firm, and Murdaugh can be listed as Smith’s lawyer for a 2013 site visitors infraction, the courtroom paperwork present.

Murdaugh’s lawyer says he was depressed and suicidal

Alex Murdaugh leaves a hearing in a personal injury lawsuit at the Richland County Courthouse in March 2019.Alex Murdaugh leaves a hearing in a personal injury lawsuit at the Richland County Courthouse in March 2019.
Harpootlian, Murdaugh’s lawyer, mentioned on “Today” that the murders of his spouse and son “took a tremendous toll on him.” So, too, did the death of his father at age 81, who handed away peacefully at his dwelling that very same week, his obituary mentioned.

In addition, allegations that Murdaugh had misappropriated funds from his legislation agency Peters, Murdaugh, Parker, Eltzroth and Detrick (PMPED) got here similtaneously a self-initiated detox, which Harpootlian mentioned despatched Murdaugh into “a massive depression.”

Murdaugh determined to finish his personal life however believed his life insurance coverage had a suicide exclusion, his lawyer mentioned. Harpootlian mentioned Murdaugh’s scheme “was an attempt on his part to do something to protect his child,” Buster, his eldest and solely dwelling little one.

Harpootlian mentioned he and Griffin visited Murdaugh on Monday in an out-of-state detox facility.

“We actually had the first conversation we’ve ever had with him where he wasn’t on opioids or oxy. And as a result of that, he clearly knew what he had done was wrong,” Harpootlian mentioned.

Harpootlian mentioned he totally expects Murdaugh will finally be charged in the conspiracy case, however his consumer’s hope is that authorities will keep centered on fixing the homicide of his spouse and son.

In a assertion to NCS, attorneys Harpootlian and Griffin mentioned Murdaugh is cooperating with authorities and continues to deny he had any function in the killings of his spouse and son.

“On September 4, it became clear Alex believed that ending his life was his only option. Today, he knows that’s not true,” the attorneys mentioned.

“Alex is fully cooperating with SLED in their investigations into his shooting, opioid use and the search to find the person or people responsible for the murder of his wife and son.”

NCS’s Melissa Alonso, Angela Barajas, Caroline Kenny and Martin Savidge contributed to this report.


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