In an astonishing turn of events, a South Carolina man was accused on Tuesday of shooting ailing lawyer Alex Murdaugh in the head in an assisted suicide plot to get $ 10 million in insurance, just three months after the murder of Murdaugh’s wife and son.
The alleged plot was exposed in court documents released after Curtis Edward Smith, 61, was collared for the botched September 4 shooting, which Murdaugh, 53, survived.
“Sir. Murdaugh provided Mr. Smith with a gun and ordered Mr. Smith to shoot him in the head,” said the affidavit, adding that Murdaugh hoped an insurance payment would go to his only surviving son.
The affidavit states that Murdaugh confessed to the scheme on Monday and named Smith as the shooter. Smith then admitted to being there and getting rid of the gun, the document says.
Smith was also charged with distributing methamphetamine and possession of marijuana, the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division said.
A law enforcement official with first-hand knowledge of the situation told the Daily Beast that Smith and Murdaugh knew each other and that Smith allegedly supplied the lawyer with drugs. Court records show Murdaugh represented Smith in a personal injury lawsuit ten years ago.
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Smith’s arrest and charges are the most astonishing development to date in a saga with more twists and turns than a Lowcountry backroad that already included double murder, drug addiction, and embezzlement allegations.
Murdaugh is the descendant of a powerful legal dynasty and was a partner in the Peters, Murdaugh, Parker, Eltzroth, Detrick firm, which was founded by his great-grandfather.
In 2019, the clan, which controlled the local prosecutor’s office for decades, made headlines when Murdaugh’s son Paul was charged with a drunken boating accident that killed a young girl. wife.
Then, in June, Alex Murdaugh discovered Paul, 22, and his mother Maggie, 52, shot dead near the kennels of the family’s vast hunting estate.
As the double homicide remained unsolved, Alex Murdaugh’s life seemed to spiral out of control.
Two weeks ago, he called 911 from a country road to report that he had been shot in the head, apparently while changing a tire. The circumstances were shrouded in confusion, and then things got even more murky.
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Murdaugh suddenly announced he was entering drug rehab and resigning from his law firm, saying he made “a lot of decisions that I really regret.”
This intriguing statement was then followed by the company’s announcement that Murdaugh was under investigation for allegedly embezzling funds – a case state police are also currently investigating.
Questions about the shooting were still spinning – with Murdaugh’s lawyer being forced to deny that the superficial head injury was self-inflicted – when Smith’s arrest was announced.
“On September 13, 2021, Mr. Murdaugh made a statement to SLED admitting to being murdered by Mr. Smith in an attempt to enable his son to purchase a life insurance policy worth approximately ten million dollars. dollars, “the affidavit states.
In addition to the charges of assisted suicide and insurance fraud, Smith was also charged with assault and battery and the robbery of a firearm. Police said more charges were expected and the affidavit described Murdaugh as a “co-accused”.
—Blake Montgomery contributed reporting
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