In a stunning passing of events, a South Carolina man was charged Tuesday with shooting the attorney general Alex Murdaugh to head to an assisted-suicide plot to release $ 10 million in insurance money to his surviving child.
The suspected conspiracy was laid out in court documents released after Curtis Edward Smith, 61, was hit by a shooting on Sept. 4, surviving Murdaugh, 53.
“Sir. Murdaugh handed Mr. Smith a gun and ordered Mr. Smith to shoot him in the head,” the affidavit said.
The affidavit indicates that Murdaugh confessed to the proceedings Monday and named Smith as the shooter. Smith then admitted he was there and removed the gun, the document said.
Smith was also charged with methamphetamine distribution and possession of marijuana, the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division announced.
A law enforcement official with direct knowledge of the situation told The Daily Beast that Smith and Murdaugh would meet and that Smith allegedly supported the drugs lawyer. Court records show Murdaugh represented Smith in a personal injury case a decade ago.
Smith’s arrest and the charges is the most spectacular development yet in a legend with more twists than a Lowcountry backroad that includes a double murder, drug addiction, and allegations of piracy.
Murdaugh was the group of a strong legal dynasty and partnered with the Peters, Murdaugh, Parker, Eltzroth, Detrick firm, founded by his grandfather.
In 2019, the clan – which has controlled the local prosecutor’s office for decades – was pushed into the headlines when Murdaugh’s son Paul was charged in a drunken boat accident that killed a young woman.
Then in June, Alex Murdaugh discovered Paul, 22, and his mother Maggie, 52, shot to death near the dog kennels of the family’s vast hunting grounds.
While the double murder remained unsolved, Alex Murdaugh’s life emerged wild wild out of control.
Two weeks ago, he called 911 from a country road to report it he was shot in the head, reported while changing a tire. Events were shrouded in confusion – and then things got worse.
Murdaugh suddenly announced that he was entering rehab for drug addiction and resigning his law firm, saying he had made “many decisions that I really regret.”
That intriguing statement was followed by the firm’s announcement that Murdaugh was under investigation for alleged misuse of funds – something state police are also now investigating.
Questions about the shooting were still circulating-with Murdaugh’s lawyer forced to deny the superficial head wound was self-inflicted-when Smith’s arrest was announced.
“On September 13, 2021, Mr. Murdaugh issued a statement to SLED admitting to Mr. Smith’s murderous manner of him for the purpose of his son collecting a life insurance policy worth approximately ten million dollars, “the affidavit said.
In addition to a number of assisted suicides and insurance fraud, Smith was also charged with assault and battery and pointing a gun. Police said more charges were expected and the affidavit described Murdaugh as a “co-defended.”
—Blake Montgomery contributed reporting