High profile South Carolina lawyer Richard Alexander ‘Alex’ Murdaugh was issued a $20,000 bond by a Hampton County Judge on Thursday
The judge issued a $10,000 bond for insurance fraud, $5,000 bond for conspiracy to commit insurance fraud and $5,000 for a filing a false police report
The judge did not believe Murdaugh, who appeared for his hearing at 4pm on Thursday, is a threat to the community
Murdaugh handed his passport to State Law Enforcement Division at the end of the hearing
The 53-year-old disgraced lawyer was driven with a police escort to the Hampton County Detention Center to surrender to authorities Thursday morning
He emerged from the vehicle sporting bright red sneakers, gray trousers and a light-colored shirt, was arrested and charged with insurance fraud, conspiracy to commit insurance fraud and filing a false police report
Murdaugh is accused of paying a hitman to shoot and kill him as part of a $10 million life insurance scheme
Murdaugh’s wife Maggie and son Paul were shot dead in June in a still unsolved double murder
Days after he was exposed and forced to resign from his law firm over misappropriating funds, he announced that he had a drug addiction and checked into rehab
Appearing before a Hampton County Judge on Thursday afternoon, Alex Murdaugh was issued a $20,000 bond . The judge issued a $10,000 bond for insurance fraud, $5,000 bond for conspiracy to commit insurance fraud and $5,000 for a filing a false police report.
The judge did not believe Murdaugh is a threat to the community.
Murdaugh handed his passport to State Law Enforcement Division at the end of the hearing. His next court date is set for October 25.
The current patriarch of an establishment South Carolina legal dynasty – whose family have ruled the county’s justice system for almost a century now finds himself on the other side of the criminal justice system after investigators Tuesday accused him of orchestrating his own shooting earlier this month.
Alex Murdaugh arrived at the Hampton County jail Thursday morning where he was slapped with charges for paying a hitman to kill him in a failed insurance fraud scheme, three months after the unsolved double-murder of his wife and son.
Before his appearance for a bond hearing at the Hampton County Magistrate Court at 4pm, the high profile attorney was filmed being driven to the jail in an SUV accompanied by a police escort having reached an agreement to surrender to authorities.
Sporting bright red sneakers, gray trousers and a light-colored shirt, 53-year-old Murdaugh alighting from the vehicle was arrested and charged with insurance fraud, conspiracy to commit insurance fraud and filing a false police report and was booked at the Hampton County Detention Center.
Richard Alexander Murdaugh, 53, is accused of paying a hitman to shoot him in the head and kill him so that his surviving son Buster could collect a $10 million life insurance payment amid a catastrophic few months where his other son and wife were murdered.
Adding to his legal woes, Murdaugh was exposed for allegedly embezzling millions from his law firm.
The missing money according to his attorney, Dick Harpootlian, ‘was used to pay for his drug addiction’.
On September 4, Murdaugh was shot in the head along a rural road in Hampton County and was airlifted to hospital where he survived after suffering only superficial injuries.
At the time, Murdaugh claimed he had been the victim of a drive-by shooting as he changed a tire by the side of the road.
He checked himself into rehab days later for opioid addiction and resigned from his law firm as it emerged he was being investigated for allegedly misappropriating millions of dollars of funds.
But, his story about the shooting soon fell apart and he confessed Monday to arranging the hit, police said.
South Carolina SLED said that after the shooting deaths of his wife and son, Alex Murdaugh orchestrated a separate shooting to kill himself with the help of a hitman, in a scheme to deliver a $10 million life insurance payout to his surviving son Buster, 25.
The once pre-eminent legal figure is currently facing investigation over misallocated funds.
Murdaugh’s alleged accomplice in the case Curtis Edward Smith then admitted Tuesday to being present at the shooting and disposing of the firearm, police said.
Curtis Edward Smith, 61, the man Murdaugh alleged recruited for his assisted suicide scheme, was seen at his bond hearing Thursday morning at Hampton County Detention Center where his bail was set at $55,000.
Smith, a former client of the attorney, was charged on multiple counts including assisted suicide and conspiracy to commit insurance fraud.
This marks just the latest twist in the Murdaugh family saga, which gained national attention when Murdaugh’s wife Maggie and son Paul were shot dead at the family’s hunting lodge on June 7.
Three months on, their deaths still remain a mystery with no arrests made and no suspects or persons of interest named.
Questions have swirled that the motive could be tied to one of three mysterious past deaths connected to the Murdaugh family. Police have opened investigations in at least two cases.
On Wednesday, the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division launched a criminal investigation into the 2018 ‘trip-and-fall’ death of the family housekeeper Gloria Satterfield and the subsequent handling of her estate.
Satterfield, 57, had been the Murdaugh housekeeper and nanny for around 25 years when she suffered a fatal brain injury following a mystery fall inside the Murdaugh family home.
She died several weeks later on February 26, 2018.
SLED said that hit had opened a criminal investigation inter Satterfield’s death based on a request from the Hampton County Coroner, as well as ‘information gathered during the course of our other ongoing investigations involving Alex Murdaugh.’
Murdaugh settled a wrongful death claim with the housekeepers family for $500,000 in 2018.
However, Satterfield’s family sued Murdaugh, Wednesday claiming he had not paid out ‘one single dime’ of the settlement.
Meanwhile, at the time of his murder, Paul was awaiting trial for the 2019 death of 19-year-old Mallory Beach, who was killed as a passenger in a boat he crashed while allegedly heavily intoxicated.
Police have also investigated the family for possible ties to the 2015 death of gay teen Stephen Smith, which was ruled a hit-and-run, though no suspects have ever been named or charged.
SLED has also reopened the investigation into Smith’s death in the wake of Paul and Maggie’s murders.
SLED confirmed in a press release Thursday morning Murdaugh had been arrested and charged ‘in connection to the shooting incident on Sept. 4 in which he conspired with Curtis Edward Smith to assist him in committing suicide for the explicit purpose of allowing a beneficiary to collect life insurance.’
Arrest warrant for Alex Murdaugh issued by the SLED – Murdaugh was arrested and charged with insurance fraud, conspiracy to commit insurance fraud and filing a false police report and was booked at the Hampton County Detention Center
Murdaugh was arrested and charged with insurance fraud, conspiracy to commit insurance fraud and filing a false police report (the arrest warrants are above) and was booked at the Hampton County Detention Center
SLED Chief Mark Keel said in a statement ‘that SLED agents will continue working to bring justice to anyone involved with any criminal act associated with these ongoing investigations’ calling the arrests ‘only the first step in that process.’
The case will be prosecuted by the Attorney General’s Office.
According to police, Murdaugh paid Smith 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, according to police.
Murdaugh provided Smith with a gun to carry out the September 4 shooting, SLED said. But Smith botched the shooting and Murdaugh survived.
Following the incident, Smith allegedly drove to an unknown location and disposed of the gun.
According to neighbors, Smith, from Walterboro, seemed unbothered after learning he was a suspect in the case when cops visited his home last week. Pictured: Curtis Edward Smith’s home.
Home of ‘hired for’ hitman for Murdaugh’s suicide attempt.
Smith, 61, from Walterboro, South Carolina, is a former client of Murdaugh, who represented him in minor traffic matters as well as a 2015 lawsuit that Smith filed against a forest management company.
He was arrested Tuesday and charged on multiple counts including conspiracy and assisted suicide for his role in the shooting.
He appeared disheveled and disoriented when he appeared for his bond hearing at Hampton County Detention Center, at 9am Thursday.
The judge broke down each of Smith’s charges and set bail accordingly: on the charge of pointing a firearm at a person bond was set at $5,000; on the insurance and misrepresentation $10,000; on conspiracy, $5,000; on assisting a person committing suicide, $15,000 and on assault and battery bond was $20,000.
Smith signed his paperwork and said that he expected his bail bondsman to pay the $55,000 later this morning.
He had rocked to and fro in his seat throughout the hearing and as he made to leave muttered: ‘This is bogus. It’s all bogus.’
Asked by the judge if he had anything else to say he remained silent.
Smith had been boasting about his alleged involvement in the crime when out and about in Walterboro last week, a long-time acquaintance revealed.
According to Henry Vandermark, who has known the man he described as ‘straight-dealing’ and ‘friendly’ for more than a decade, Smith was blasé when he told him that cops had visited his Walterboro home last week and informed him that he was a suspect in the bizarre roadside shooting.
Instead, Smith had reportedly boasted that cops ‘wouldn’t find anything’ when they searched his home and appeared untroubled about being a suspect in the shooting.
He said: ‘He told me, ‘the police have been round and told me I’m a suspect [in the shooting] and wanted to search my house.’
‘I said, ‘Go ahead, you won’t find anything.’ **8Vandermark said Smith didn’t seem at all worried or concerned about the development. He said: ‘It didn’t seem to bother him at all.’
Despite Smith’s admission, Vandermark said that he ‘couldn’t believe it’ when he saw that his long-time acquaintance had been arrested Tuesday.
In fact, investigators had been closing in on him even though attorneys for Murdaugh were still publicly peddling the tale of a random roadside ambush and offering more ‘facts’ given by their client in a bid to shore up his story.
Murdaugh is said to have called 911 from the side of Old Salkehatchie Road shortly after 1pm on Saturday, September 4.
By the time law enforcement arrived, he was already being transported to hospital in Savannah suffering from what South Carolina Law Enforcement Division (SLED) has consistently described as a ‘superficial’ gunshot wound to the head.
Attorneys for Murdaugh have insisted that his injuries were far more serious, with lawyer Jim Griffin claiming that his client had ‘an entry and exit wound…fractured skull and minor brain bleed.’
Multiple casings were found on the scene near the Mercedes SUV being driven by Murdaugh that day and once owned by his wife, Maggie.
Last week Griffin stated that Murdaugh had told him that somebody in a blue truck had passed by and turned back as he tried to fix a flat tire by the side of the road. **On circling back, Murdaugh stated, the person rolled down their window and asked if he was having car trouble before opening fire.
Griffin also claimed that Murdaugh had worked with a SLED sketch artist to provide a sketch of the suspect, whom he did not admit to knowing, but the image was never released because investigators were not satisfied with it.
On Wednesday neighbors near Smith’s home in Walterboro, South Carolina told DailyMail.com that as Griffin made his claims members of the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division (SLED) were ‘crawling all over the place.’ *88One who asked not to be named recalled: ‘There were cars all round there and members of SLED crawling all over the place last week.’
In fact, SLED executed multiple search warrants on Smith’s home on September 7, just three days after Murdaugh reported the roadside shooting.
And one day after Murdaugh, who has been accused of embezzling millions from his family law firm, issued a public statement in which he admitted to opioid addiction and said he was entering rehab.
One of Smith’s neighbors said: ‘It’s a total shock to wake up to a text saying, ‘Have you heard about your neighbor…?’ and then to learn this.
‘I had no idea he was into drugs and that sort of thing. I know he took something for his back which bothered him a long time, but I’d never have imagined he’d be involved in anything like this.’
Another told DailyMail.com that Smith was known by all as ‘Fast Eddie’ and was often seen driving around his large corner property on a golf buggy or hosting cookouts. ***One visibly upset family member, who asked not to be named but confirmed that she was a relative, would say only that Smith’s arrest ‘was a massive shock.’
Fighting back tears she described Smith as ‘a sweet guy, a real sweet guy.’
Another neighbor said that, for the most part, Smith kept to himself and took pride in the vegetable garden he had planted at the back of his property.
Multiple cars, including a Mercedes convertible, and four jet skis were parked up by the spacious clapboard property that Smith once shared with his late mother, Emaline Murdaugh Smith.
Smith and Murdaugh are distant relatives though the men are understood to have first met when Murdaugh represented Smith in a minor traffic offense in 2013.
Murdaugh only changed his story on Monday when he was visited by his attorneys Dick Harpootlian and Griffin at an out of state rehab center.
According to Harpootlian, it was the first time either of them had spoken to their client when he was not high on opioids, that he knew that what he had done was wrong and that he was in a ‘dark, dark place’ when he hatched the bizarre plot.
Murdaugh gave a statement to SLED admitting to the scheme, September 13.
According to Harpootlian he did not want to distract detectives investigating the murders of Maggie and Paul with the staged incident.
Smith was arrested Tuesday on charges of assisted suicide, assault and battery, pointing and presenting a firearm, insurance fraud and conspiracy to commit insurance fraud.
The SLED executed multiple search warrants on Smith’s home on September 7, just three days after Murdaugh reported the roadside shooting, Pictured: SLED’s arrest warrant against Smith