Legal dynasty heir Alex Murdaugh, 53, was changing the tire on his SUV on this rural road in Hampton County, SC, on Sept. 4, when someone shot him from a passing truck
According to police the disgraced South Carolina legal heavyweight, ‘hired hitman to kill him for $10M life insurance policy that would pay out to son’
According to police, the alleged assassin, Curtis Edward Smith, 61, botched the roadside shooting
His apparent goal failed because he survived and it has to be ruled a murder, for his son Buster, 25, to get an $10m insurance payout
It’s unclear if the hitman had anything to do with the June murders of Alex’s wife and son, Maggie and Paul Murdaugh
Smith, former client and alleged accomplice of Murdaugh, was arrested on Tuesday for the roadside ‘assisted suicide’ shooting
Murdaugh is ncurrently investigation for allegedly misallocating company funds from his law firm
He entered rehab last week, for opioid addiction after resigning from his law firm in disgrace
In the latest twist in the ongoing murder mystery surrounding a South Carolina legal dynasty, the scion of the Murdaugh family, Alex Murdaugh,53, who has been hit with his wife and son, while facing drug addiction and embezzlement charges, has been accused of orchestrating his own shooting in a botched assisted suicide scheme for his surviving son to collect a $10 million life insurance payment.
The alleged assassin, Curtis Edward Smith, 61, was arrested on charges of assisted suicide, assault and battery, pointing and presenting a firearm, insurance fraud and conspiracy to commit insurance fraud.
Smith, from Walterboro, South Carolina, is a former client of Murdaugh, 53, who represented him in minor traffic matters as well as a 2015 lawsuit that Smith filed against a forest management company.
According to police, Murdaugh paid him to shoot him in the head and kill him, making it look like a random, drive-by attach.
His goal was for his surviving son Buster to receive a $10million life insurance payout, investigators said.
Murdaugh allegedly, provided Smith with a gun to carry out the September 4 shooting, SLED said. Apparently Smith botched the shooting and Murdaugh survived.
Following the incident, Smith allegedly drove to an unknown location and disposed of the gun.
Murdaugh has not yet been charged but SLED said further charges are expected in the case.
Smith was also charged with distribution of methamphetamine and possession of marijuana. However, Smith has not been linked so far, in the doubled-homicide which claimed the lives of Murdaugh’s wife and other son Margaret and Paul, who were shot dead at the family’s hunting lodge in June.
Murdaugh entered rehab days after the shooting, seeking treatment for oxycodone addiction, while also being investigated for allegedly misappropriating millions from his own law firm.
A law enforcement source told the Daily Beast Smith and Murdaugh know each other and Smith allegedly supplied Murdaugh with drugs.
‘Mr. Murdaugh provided a statement to SLED admitting to the scheme of having Mr. Smith murder him for the purpose of his son collecting a life insurance policy valued at approximately ten million dollars,’ the agency said in a statement.
Murdaugh, who is in rehab for opioid addiction and under investigation for allegedly misappropriating millions from his law firm after the brutal murder of his wife and son, has not yet been arrested or charged.
Murdaugh claims to have an ‘iron clad alibi’ for the night of his wife and younger son’s murder, saying he was visiting his father in the hospital, just days before the father’s death of cancer.
Murdaugh’s surviving son, 25-year-old Richard Alexander ‘Buster’ Murdaugh Jr, was spotted for the first after the funeral for his mom and brother at the family’s Edisto Island property in South Carolina, on Monday, refused to comment on the tragedies that have befallen his family in recent times.
Buster’s dad Alex Murdaugh, who hails from one of South Carolina’s most prominent legal families, was shot in the head and injured on September 4 while changing a car tire by the side of a road in Hampton County.
According to Murdaugh’s account, a truck passed him then circled back outside St John Baptist church on Old Salkehatchie Road next to where his vehicle was parked. Inexplicably, Murdaugh told police, the driver wound down his window and shot at him.
Murdaugh who said he was alone at the time of the incident, managed to dial 911 after being struck by the bullet. He was subsequently airlifted to hospital where he underwent treatment before being released.
The roadside shooting came just days after Murdaugh resigned from his law firm Peters Murdaugh Parker Elztroth Detrick (PMPED) over claims that he had misappropriated millions of dollars.
Following the roadside shooting, Murdaugh issued a statement through his attorney that he was seeking treatment for drug addiction.
On Monday, SLED announced that it had opened a criminal investigation into Murdaugh over the alleged missing law firm funds, the latest twist in the family’s tragic and strange saga. SLED Chief Mark Keel urged ‘the public to be patient and let this investigation take its course.’
In what apparent reference to growing impatience over the lack of any suspect or information in the killings of either Maggie and Paul or Alex’s shootings, Chief Keel noted, ‘Investigative decisions we make throughout this case and any potentially related cases must ultimately withstand the scrutiny of the criminal justice process.
‘As with all cases SLED is committed to conducting a professional, thorough and impartial criminal investigation, no matter where the facts lead us.’
Three generations of Murdaughs have served as solicitor for the state’s 14th Circuit Court, the equivalent of a district attorney, but in an unprecedented move, Alex Murdaugh last week had his license to practice law revoked indefinitely, by the South Carolina Supreme Court.
The shocking turn of events has catapulted the family back into national headlines following the brutal slaying of Murdaugh’s wife, Maggie, 52, and son, Paul, 22, on June 7.
It was Alex Murdaugh who discovered his wife and son’s bodies near dog kennels on the property and called 911 shortly after 10pm that evening.
According to investigators mother and son were killed between 9 and 9.30pm. Paul suffered fatal shotgun wounds to the head and torso. His mother was killed with a semi-automatic rifle.
Murdaugh was visiting his sick father in hospital on the night of the shooting – Randolph Murdaugh III died three days later after a long battle with cancer.
What little information has emerged since, has only served to deepen the mystery surrounding the events on the Islandton estate in June.
On June 7, Alex Murdaugh discovered his son Paul and wife Maggie dead at the dog kennels on the family property Alex Murdaugh’s 911 call reporting wife and son shot is released.
At the time of their deaths Paul was facing charges over the death of friend Mallory Beach, 19, who died in a boat crash back in February 2019.
Mallory died when Paul, ‘intoxicated’ and ‘belligerent’ ploughed his father’s boat into a piling in Archers Creek after an afternoon of drinking at an oyster roast.
Paul was one of six teenagers described by police as ‘grossly intoxicated’ that night. He was awaiting trial on three felony counts of boating under the influence, including boating under the influence resulting in death, a charge which carries a maximum penalty of 25 years in prison.
He had been released on a $50,000 bond pending his trial. All charges were dismissed two months after his death but the wrongful death suit being brought by Mallory’s mother, Renee, is still being pursued.
Buster is named as it was his license that Paul used to purchase the alcohol that night – a practice which the Beach family attorneys allege, was both common and done with Buster’s knowledge.
So far, the Murdaugh’s insurance company, Philadelphia Indemnity, have refused to pay out on two personal injury policies to the tune of $6million. According to court records, Indemnity found that they had ‘no obligation’ to defend or indemnify Murdaugh or his older son for a host of reasons.
The company stated that Murdaugh, ‘had knowledge or should have had knowledge that his minor son illegally purchased and consumed alcohol on a regular basis by using or displaying the driver’s license of his adult son, Murdaugh Jr.’
They continued, ‘It was foreseeable that Murdaugh’s son would purchase alcohol for consumption by other minors and would then become intoxicated.’
Attorneys for Beach have since filed yet more paperwork in the wrongful death suit stating their intention to come after Murdaugh’s two properties – the hunting lodge and the Edisto Island beach house