Alex Murdaugh, the man accused of trying to arrange his own death earlier this month so his son would receive a $ 10 million life insurance payment, reported to authorities Thursday, CBS affiliate WSPA-TV reports. Murdaugh, a prominent lawyer in South Carolina, has reportedly hired a perpetrator to kill him, but the planned death shot only grazed his head, state police said Tuesday.
Jim Griffin, Murdaugh’s lawyer, said an arrest warrant was issued on Wednesday for his arrest of conspiracy to commit insurance fraud.
The alleged shooter, Curtis Edward Smith, was charged with assisted suicide, insurance fraud and several other offenses at the shooting against Murdaugh on Sept. 4 on a lonely highway in Hampton County, the state law enforcement department said in a statement.
Murdaugh gave Smith the gun to kill him, and he followed Murdaugh to Old Salkehatchie Road and fired a shot at the lawyer as he stood on the road, an agent said in an oath.
But that bullet only grazed Murdaugh’s head, and he could call 911 for help, authorities said. Murdaugh’s lawyer said last week that his skull was broken by the bullet.
Murdaugh wanted Smith to kill him so his surviving son would get his $ 10 million life insurance policy, state agents said.
Lawyers for Murdaugh said he had struggled with a long-term addiction to opioids and wanted to end his life. In a statement to CBS News, attorneys Dick Harpootlian and Jim Griffin said:
On September 4, it became clear that Alex believed it was his only option to end his life. Today he knows that is not true. For the past 20 years, many people have been feeding his opioid addiction. During this time, these individuals took advantage of his addiction and his ability to pay significant sums for illegal drugs. One of these people took advantage of his mental illness and agreed to take Alex’s life by shooting him in the head. Fortunately, Alex was not killed by the gunshot wound.
They said Murdaugh is fully cooperating with the investigation into his shooting as well as the death of his wife and son. “Alex is not without guilt, but he is just one of many whose lives have been ruined by opioid addiction,” his lawyers said.
Smith drove off after the shooting and disposed of the gun, authorities said.
State agents said Murdaugh admitted to trying to arrange his own death Monday.
Murdaugh said last week through a spokesman for the family that he was retiring after his Mercedes SUV’s low tire pressure light came on. A man passing in a pickup asked if he had a problem with the car and then shot at him.
Agents said the 61-year-old Smith confessed Tuesday and was charged with assisted suicide, assault and battery of high aggravated nature, pointing and presenting a firearm, insurance fraud, conspiracy to commit insurance fraud, distribution of methamphetamine and possession of marijuana.
It is not immediately known if he had a lawyer speak on his behalf. Colleton County court records show Murdaugh was Smith’s attorney in an urgent case in 2013.
Still unsolved are the June 7 killings of 52-year-old Maggie Murdaugh and her 22-year-old son Paul Murdaugh. Alex Murdaugh discovered the bodies of his wife and son at their home in Colleton County. Both had been shot several times.
Murdaugh announced two days after the shooting that he was going into rehab for an opioid addiction. He apologized to his family and said he was leaving his law firm.
“The murders of my wife and son have caused an incredibly difficult time in my life. I have made many decisions that I truly regret,” Murdaugh said without going into detail.
A few hours later, the law firm PMPED (Peters Murdaugh Parker Eltzroth Detrick)and was fired from the company. The amount is not stated.
Along with the killings of Maggie and Paul Murdaugh and the shooting of Alex Murdaugh, the State Law Enforcement Division is investigating the lack of money if anyone tried to prevent an investigation into a boating accident in 2019 that Paul Murdaugh was eventually charged with, and a July 2015 hit- and-run death in Hampton County.
Murdaugh’s father, grandfather and great-grandfather all held the office of lawyer in the area for more than 80 years, and other family members were prominent civil lawyers in the region.