South Carolina attorney Alex Murdaugh enlisted hitman for $ 10 million life insurance policy, attorney says
South Carolina lawyer Alex Murdaugh arranged for another man to kill him earlier this month so his son could get a $ 10 million life insurance policy, announced Tuesday authorities.
Murdaugh, 53, survived the September 4 shooting, which occurred months after the unsolved murders of his wife and adult son. Police said Murdaugh told 911 he was shot in the head while changing a flat tire and the bullet caused only a “superficial” injury.
His lawyer, Richard Harpootlian, told NBC’s “TODAY” Wednesday that his client was trying to stop the opioids he was taking to cope with the death of his son and wife when he became depressed. Believing his insurance policy contained a suicide clause, Murdaugh enlisted a man to kill him in a “false car breakdown,” according to the lawyer.
The ploy was an “attempt on his part to do something to protect his child,” Harpootlian said.
In a written statement, Harpootlian and Jim Griffin, another attorney for Murdaugh, said it had become “clear that Alex believed that ending his life was his only option. Today, he knows it wasn’t. is not true “.
“Over the past 20 years, many people have fueled her addiction to opioids. During this time, these people have taken advantage of her addiction and her ability to pay substantial funds for illegal drugs,” the statement said. “One of those people took advantage of his mental illness and agreed to kill Alex by shooting him in the head.”
Curtis Edward Smith, 61, was arrested on Tuesday for assisted suicide, highly aggravated assault and battery, pointing and showing a firearm, insurance fraud and conspiracy to commit a crime. insurance fraud, according to South Carolina state law enforcement. Division (SLED).
Agency officials said Smith, of Walterboro, was also arrested for distributing methamphetamine and possessing marijuana.
Smith was being held in jail Tuesday night, officials said. It was not immediately clear if he had a lawyer. Colleton County records show Murdaugh had been Smith’s attorney in a speeding case in 2013, the Associated Press reported.
Additional charges were expected in the case, according to SLED.
Murdaugh allegedly gave Smith a gun and ordered Smith to kill him, according to documents released Tuesday by investigators.
Murdaugh reportedly admitted to law enforcement that the plan was for Smith to kill him, so Murdaugh’s surviving son could purchase a life insurance policy worth around $ 10 million, the documents show.
“Alex is totally cooperating,” Harpootlian said Wednesday. “We called SLED; they didn’t call us. “
He “didn’t want law enforcement spending time on this bogus crime instead of Maggie and Paul.”
Earlier this summer, Margaret and Paul were found dead near kennels on the family’s hunting property in Colleton County, west of Charleston. Their deaths were classified by state investigators as a double homicide.
Alex Murdaugh, a personal injury lawyer, called 911 at 10:07 p.m. on June 7 and told a dispatcher his wife and son were on the ground and not breathing, according to records released by authorities.
He said he had just come back and asked the dispatcher to “hurry up please”.
Harpootlian said Murdaugh had nothing to do with the murders.
“He is totally distraught,” said the lawyer. “He didn’t murder them.
Alex Murdaugh’s father, the patriarch of the Randolph Murdaugh III family, died at 81 days just days after the deaths of Paul and Margaret.
Murdaugh, who is part of a prominent South Carolina legal family, has not been charged with any felony. Harpootlian said on Wednesday he expected him to be arrested soon.
“I think he will be charged,” he said, reiterating that Murdaugh did not want this case to divert resources from the investigation into the murders of Murdaugh’s wife, Margaret, and his adult son, Paul.
Harpootlian said Murdaugh’s legal team was continuing their own investigation and said they identified at least one suspect. “The motive would be personal,” he said.
Days after the September 4 shooting, Murdaugh said in a statement that he quit his job at a law firm to enter rehab. He said he “made a lot of decisions that I really regret” and that the murders of his wife and son caused an incredibly difficult time.
The law firm said Murdaugh only resigned after the partners discovered he had allegedly embezzled funds. South Carolina law enforcement officials announced on Monday that they were investigating charges that Murdaugh had “embezzled” company money.
Murdaugh’s law license has been suspended indefinitely.
Murdaugh’s father, grandfather and great-grandfather all served as chief prosecutor for the 14th South Carolina Circuit, which covers a coastal region of the state known as the Lowcountry, totaling over 80 years old.
The family’s powerful legal ties were in the spotlight after Paul Murdaugh was charged in a 2019 boating accident that killed 19-year-old Mallory Beach. A police report said those on the boat were “grossly intoxicated”.
Local reports after the crash said the Murdaugh family did not initially cooperate with the law enforcement investigation and officers never gave Paul Murdaugh, who allegedly drove the boat, a test blood alcohol level, according to the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources, which conducted the investigation.
Murdaugh pleaded not guilty to three counts of boating under the influence. He had made a personal commitment of $ 50,000 at the time of his death. For protocol reasons, the charges were dropped last month.
If you or someone you know is in crisis, call National lifeline for suicide prevention at 800-273-8255, text HOME at 741741 or visit SpeakingOfSuicide.com/ressources for additional resources.