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Alex Murdaugh: Man charged with murder of prominent lawyer in what officials claim is conspiracy to commit insurance fraud


Curtis Edward Smith, 61, of Colleton County has been charged with assisted suicide; conspiracy to commit insurance fraud; point and present a firearm; and assault and battery of a serious and aggravated nature, according to a South Carolina law enforcement division.

According to the affidavit filed in support of the charges, Murdaugh allegedly conspired with Smith in the September 4 shooting, providing him with the gun and ordering Smith to shoot him in the head.

The goal, according to the affidavit, was for Smith to kill Murdaugh so that his son could collect a life insurance payment of around $ 10 million.

Murdaugh, who survived the shooting, admitted to the scheme on Monday, according to the affidavit. On Tuesday, Smith admitted to witnessing the Murdaugh shooting and disposing of the gun, according to the affidavit.

Murdaugh is described as a co-accused in the affidavit, although no charges have been announced against the 53-year-old lawyer.

SLED said additional charges are expected in the case. Smith was also charged with distributing methamphetamine and possession of marijuana, according to SLED.

It is not clear if Smith has retained the services of a lawyer at this time. CNN has reached out to a Murdaugh family spokesperson for comment.

Immediately after the shooting, Murdaugh called 911 to report that he had been shot on a road in Hampton County, according to a statement from SLED spokesman Tommy Crosby. He was taken to a hospital in Savannah, Georgia, where he was treated for a “superficial gunshot wound to the head,” the statement said.

The following week, a family spokesperson released a statement saying the injury was more serious and describing the incident in more detail.

“Alex pulled over after seeing a low tire light. A driver in a blue pickup asked him if he had any car problems, as soon as Alex answered he was shot,” the driver said. communicated.

Notable family in South Carolina

Murdaugh is a member of a well-known family in South Carolina legal circles. The Murdaugh family had three generations serving as the 14th Circuit District Attorney, who leads prosecutions for Allendale, Beaufort, Colleton, Hampton and Jasper counties in the southern part of South Carolina.

More recently, they have been involved in a series of bloody tragedies, including the fatal shooting of Murdaugh’s wife and son, Margaret and Paul in June.

The day before the shooting, Murdaugh had resigned from the Peters, Murdaugh, Parker, Eltzroth & Detrick (PMPED) law firm, according to the firm.

Days later, the company said Murdaugh’s resignation came “after PMPED discovered that Alex had embezzled funds in violation of PMPED standards and policies.”

His license was then suspended, according to the South Carolina Supreme Court.

Randy Murdaugh IV, brother of Alex Murdaugh and also a lawyer at law firm PMPED, issued a resignation statement acknowledging what lawyer Jim Griffin would later specify as Alex Murdaugh’s opioid addiction.

“I was shocked, as was the rest of my PMPED family, to learn that my brother, Alex, was a drug addict and money stealer,” Randy Murdaugh wrote in the release.

SLED said Monday it has opened an investigation into Murdaugh based on the embezzlement allegations.

A family drama

Two days after the shooting, Murdaugh released a statement saying he was entering rehab.

“The murders of my wife and son have caused an incredibly difficult time in my life. I have made a lot of decisions that I really regret,” he said in the statement. “I am resigning from my law firm and entering rehab after a long battle that has been exacerbated by these murders. I am extremely sorry for everyone I have hurt, including my family, friends and colleagues. . I ask for prayers as I rehabilitate myself. And my relationships. “

On June 7, Alex Murdaugh called 911 and reported that he had found his wife Margaret, 52, and son Paul, then 22, shot dead outside their home in Islandton, a small community about an hour away. north of Hilton Head Island, according to SLED. .

Alex Murdaugh: Man charged with murder of prominent lawyer in what officials claim is conspiracy to commit insurance fraud

Colleton County Sheriff’s Deputies determined that the two victims had multiple gunshot wounds.

His brothers, John Marvin Murdaugh and Randolph “Randy” Murdaugh IV, spoke to “Good Morning America” ​​about the murders shortly afterwards and said they did not believe Alex was involved.

“My brother loved Maggie and Paul like nothing else on this earth, just like he loves (his other son) Buster,” Randy told “GMA”. “So there’s no way he could have anything to do with it, I can assure you.”

The SLED has called on the public to withhold judgment until the investigation is completed.

While investigating the deaths of mother and son, SLED gathered information that prompted them to reopen an investigation into the unresolved death of 19-year-old Stephen Smith, whose body was found on the road in 2015 in the Hampton County, the agency said.

CNN’s Melissa Alonso and Eric Levenson contributed to this report.

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