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South Carolina lawyer who allegedly botched $ 10million life insurance program surrenders to authorities

By on September 16, 2021 0

Alex Murdaugh, the man accused of attempting to stage his own death earlier this month so that his son would receive a life insurance payment of $ 10 million, surrendered to authorities on Thursday, reported CBS affiliate WSPA-TV. Murdaugh, a prominent South Carolina lawyer, reportedly hired a gunman to kill him, but the expected fatal blow only grazed his head, state police said on Tuesday.

Jim Griffin, Murdaugh’s attorney, said an arrest warrant was issued Wednesday against his charge of conspiring to commit insurance fraud.

The alleged shooter, Curtis Edward Smith, was charged with assisted suicide, insurance fraud and several other counts in the Sept. 4 shooting against Murdaugh on a secluded road in Hampton County, the report said. State Law Enforcement Division in a statement.

Murdaugh gave Smith the gun to kill him and he followed Murdaugh to Old Salkehatchie Road, firing a shot at the lawyer as he stood in the road, an officer said in a statement under oath.

But that bullet only grazed Murdaugh’s head and he was able to call 911 for help, authorities said. Murdaugh’s attorney said last week his skull was fractured by the bullet.

Murdaugh wanted Smith to kill him so his surviving son could get his $ 10 million life insurance policy, state agents said.

Murdaugh’s lawyers have said he has struggled with a long-standing opioid addiction and wants to end his life. In a statement provided to CBS News, attorneys Dick Harpootlian and Jim Griffin said:

On September 4, it became clear that Alex believed that ending his own life was his only option. Today he knows that is not true. Over the past 20 years, many people have fueled her addiction to opioids. During this time, these people took advantage of her addiction and her ability to pay substantial sums for illegal drugs. One of these people took advantage of his mental illness and agreed to kill Alex 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 deaths of his wife and son. “Alex is not without fault, but he is just one of many whose lives have been devastated by opioid addiction,” his lawyers said.

Smith left after the shooting and disposed of the gun, authorities said.

State agents said Murdaugh admitted to attempting to stage his own death on Monday.

Murdaugh said last week through a family spokesperson that he pulled over after the low tire pressure warning light came on on his Mercedes SUV. A man passing by in a van asked if he was having any problems with his car and shot him.

Officers said Smith, 61, confessed on Tuesday and was charged with assisted suicide, highly aggravated assault and battery, pointing and presenting a gun, insurance fraud, conspiracy in sight to commit insurance fraud, distribution of methamphetamine and possession of marijuana.

It was not immediately clear whether he had a lawyer to speak on his behalf. Colleton County court records showed Murdaugh had been Smith’s attorney in a speeding case in 2013.

The June 7 murders of Maggie Murdaugh, 52, and her son Paul Murdaugh, 22, remain unsolved. 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 to rehab for opioid addiction. He apologized to his family and said he was leaving his law firm.

“The murders of my wife and son caused an incredibly difficult time in my life. I made a lot of decisions that I really regret,” Murdaugh said without going into details.

Hours later, law firm PMPED (Peters Murdaugh Parker Eltzroth Detrick) said Murdaugh took money from the company and was fired from the firm. The amount of money was not disclosed.

Along with the Maggie and Paul Murdaugh murders and the shooting of Alex Murdaugh, the state’s Law Enforcement Division is investigating the missing money, if anyone has attempted to obstruct an investigation into a boating accident in 2019 with which Paul Murdaugh was ultimately charged, and a July 2015 hit and run death in Hampton County.

Murdaugh’s father, grandfather and great-grandfather all served as lawyers in the area for over 80 years, and other family members were prominent civil lawyers in the region.

© 2021 CBS Interactive Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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