A prominent US lawyer – whose wife and son were murdered in June – arranged for a man to kill him so his other son could collect $ 10million (£ 7.23million) life insurance. sterling), authorities said.
Alex Murdaugh survived a bullet to the head on a rural road in Hampton County, South Carolina on September 4.
Curtis Edward Smith, 61, was arrested on Tuesday on charges of assisted suicide and fraud in connection with this month’s incident, according to the South Carolina State Law Enforcement Division (SLED ).
Documents released by the agency indicate that Mr. Murdaugh admitted to asking Smith to kill him so that a beneficiary could collect his life insurance policy, NBC reported.
Mr Murdaugh allegedly gave Smith a gun and ordered Smith to kill him, according to documents released by investigators.
Mr Murdaugh has not yet been charged with any crime and his attorney, Richard Harpootlian, declined to comment.
The Murdaugh family have long practiced law in the state, having been the region’s top attorneys for decades.
Local media said in 2019 that over the years family members have helped put thousands of people in jail and sent more than a dozen to death row.
“Year after year,” The State newspaper said, “the family’s Hampton law firm has won millions of dollars in civil lawsuits, relentlessly pursuing those responsible in fatal collisions.”
However, tragedy struck on June 7 when Mr Murdaugh found the bodies of his wife Maggie, 52, and son Paul, 22, near the kennels of their rural estate and hunting lodge in South Carolina.
At the time of the two murders, the family was facing a wrongful death trial after student Paul was charged with causing death during a night of underage drinking.
Six people were aboard a boat owned by Mr Murdaugh when the ship struck a stake under a bridge and the passengers – aged 18 to 20 – were thrown into the water.
The body of a 19-year-old woman was not found until seven days later, NBC reported.
Days after the September 4 shooting, Mr Murdaugh said he quit his job at a law firm and entered rehab for opioid addiction.
He said he “made a lot of decisions that I really regret” and that the murders of his wife and son had caused an incredibly difficult time.
The law firm said Mr Murdaugh only resigned after partners discovered he had embezzled funds, which is currently under investigation by officials.
The South Carolina Supreme Court suspended Mr. Murdaugh’s law license during the investigation.
It has not been made public how much money is missing.