HAMPTON, S.C. — The prominent South Carolina attorney who was shot months after his spouse and son have been killed at their household searching property allegedly conspired to have one other man kill him so as for his different son to be paid out his $10 million life insurance coverage, state police say.
The announcement of costs Monday in opposition to one other South Carolina man is the newest twist within the saga of Alex Murdaugh, the Hampton lawyer tied to a number of state investigations and whose members of the family had served for generations within the workplace of the native prosecutor.
Murdaugh was listed as a co-defendant because the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division announced charges in opposition to Curtis Edward Smith, 61, who faces counts of assisted suicide, assault and battery of a excessive aggravated nature, pointing and presenting a firearm, insurance fraud, and conspiracy to commit insurance fraud.
Murdaugh “arranged to have this guy shoot him” in efforts to have the insurance payout to his son, Dick Harpootlian, an lawyer for Murdaugh, told the “Today” show on Wednesday. He mentioned he expects Murdaugh to be charged within the coming days.
Tommy Crosby, a spokesman for the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division, advised USA TODAY he had no further information about any potential costs within the case. A information launch asserting the fees in opposition to Smith mentioned, “additional charges in the case are expected and will be announced at the appropriate time.”
Murdaugh was shot within the head Sept. 4 on the facet of a rural highway and was taken to the hospital with superficial accidents. The information got here days earlier than he checked himself into rehab and his legislation agency, Peters, Murdaugh, Parker, Eltzroth, & Detrick (PMPED), accused him of misappropriating funds. State police mentioned Monday it was investigating the missing money.
Harpootlian advised the “Today” present Murdaugh had used opioids and was making an attempt to get off the medicine the day he organized the taking pictures. Murdaugh was depressed, “realized that things were going to get very, very, very bad” after taking cash from his legislation agency however believed that if he died by suicide, the life insurance payout wouldn’t go to his son, Harpootlian mentioned.
Murdaugh used nearly all of the cash from the agency to pay for opioids, his lawyer mentioned.
Murdaugh has since admitted to giving Smith a firearm and telling him to kill Murdaugh so as for his life insurance coverage to be paid out, the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division mentioned in affidavits launched Monday.
Smith adopted Murdaugh to a rural nation highway the place he then shot Murdaugh, police mentioned in an affidavit. Smith drove away and removed the gun, whereas Murdaugh survived the taking pictures, the affidavit says.
Murdaugh known as 911 after being shot within the head and was taken to an space hospital, state and native police beforehand mentioned. Harpootlian mentioned Murdaugh was briefly blinded within the taking pictures.
State police mentioned within the affidavit that Murdaugh admitted to the scheme on Monday and that his life insurance coverage, valued round $10 million, was to go to his surviving son. On Tuesday, Smith additionally admitted to being current and disposing of the firearm, in response to the affidavit.
Smith was additionally charged with distribution of methamphetamine and possession of
marijuana. It was not instantly clear whether or not the Walterboro man had an lawyer.
A spokesperson for Murdaugh beforehand mentioned Murdaugh had pulled over after a tire mild turned on in his automobile and he was shot by a person who had stopped to ask if he was having automobile issues. Harpootlian on Wednesday described the incident as a “fake car breakdown.”
Harpootlian mentioned Murdaugh and his authorized crew approached state police along with his confession. “He didn’t want law enforcement spending more time on this fake crime instead of focusing on solving the murders of Maggie and Paul (Murdaugh),” Harpootlian advised the “Today” present.
Alex Murdaugh’s spouse, Maggie, 52, and their 22-year-old son, Paul, have been shot a number of occasions and located useless June 7 on the household’s Colleton County searching property. Alex Murdaugh known as 911 reporting their deaths, which stay beneath investigation by state police.
Harpootlian advised the “Today” present Murdaugh didn’t kill his spouse and son, and that Harpootlian and one other lawyer representing Murdaugh have been investigating “an individual or individuals we believe may, may, have some culpability or had done it.”
Harpootlian didn’t elaborate additional on whom he and his associate have been investigating, saying solely the motive can be “personal.” Crosby, with state legislation enforcement, declined to touch upon any information Murdaugh’s attorneys might have offered within the ongoing investigation and mentioned the division had been involved along with his authorized representatives.
Alex Murdaugh and his surviving son, Buster, had supplied a $100,000 reward for information resulting in an arrest or arrests and convictions.
At the time, Paul Murdaugh was dealing with costs tied to a 2019 deadly boat crash. Mallory Beach, 19, of Hampton County, was killed and a number of other others injured within the crash close to Parris Island. Paul Murdaugh confronted three costs tied to boating beneath the affect.
The case stays open, and Beach’s household has additionally filed a civil lawsuit and different authorized actions in opposition to the Murdaugh household. Harpootlian mentioned he had represented Paul Murdaugh within the case.
Paul and Maggie Murdaugh’s loss of life additionally prompted the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division to open a murder investigation into the unsolved loss of life of Stephen Smith, 19. State police mentioned it was opening the investigation “based upon information gathered during the course of the double murder investigation of Paul and Maggie Murdaugh.”
Smith died on a rural highway in Hampton County in 2015, in what was dominated a hit-and-run. However, his mom, Sandy, advised the the Hampton County Guardian, a part of the USA TODAY Network, in 2015 that she believed her son’s loss of life was the results of foul play and a doable hate crime as a result of her son was homosexual.
The cascading string of occasions have shined a lightweight on the well-known Murdaugh household.
Alex Murdaugh ‘s nice grandfather, grandfather and father had served constantly as elected prosecutors within the space for 85 years. Alex Murdaugh additionally volunteered within the prosecutor’s workplace, aiding his father who remained a paid contract worker, after a brand new lawyer took over.
If you or somebody could also be fighting suicidal ideas, you may name the U.S. National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-TALK (8255) any time day or evening, or chat online.
Crisis Text Line additionally supplies free, 24/7, confidential help through textual content message to individuals in disaster after they dial 741741.
DeWitt reported from Hampton, South Carolina. Miller reported from New York.