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Thursday, September 16, 2021

Man charged in the shooting of prominent lawyer Alex Murdaugh in what officials allege was a conspiracy to commit insurance fraud

Curtis Edward Smith, 61, of Colleton County has been charged with assisted suicide; conspiracy to commit insurance fraud; pointing and presenting a firearm; and assault and battery of a excessive and aggravated nature, in accordance to a South Carolina Law Enforcement Division.

According to the affidavit filed to assist the prices, Murdaugh allegedly conspired with Smith in the shooting on September 4, offering him with the firearm and instructing Smith to shoot him in the head.

The objective, in accordance to the affidavit, was for Smith to kill Murdaugh in order that his son may accumulate a life insurance payout of roughly $10 million.

Murdaugh, who survived the shooting, admitted to the scheme on Monday, the affidavit mentioned. On Tuesday, Smith admitted to being current at the shooting of Murdaugh and to disposing of the firearm, the affidavit mentioned.

Murdaugh is described as a co-defendant in the affidavit, though no prices have been introduced towards the 53-year-old outdated legal professional.

SLED mentioned extra prices are anticipated in the case. Smith has additionally been charged with the distribution of methamphetamine and possession of marijuana, in accordance to SLED.

It’s not clear if Smith has retained authorized counsel at the moment. CNN has reached out to a Murdaugh household spokesperson for remark.

In the instant aftermath of the shooting, Murdaugh known as 911 to report he had been shot on a street in Hampton County, in accordance to a assertion from SLED spokesperson Tommy Crosby. He was taken to a hospital in Savannah, Georgia, the place he was handled for a “superficial gunshot wound to the head,” the assertion mentioned.

The subsequent week, a household spokesperson issued a assertion indicating that the harm was extra severe and outlining extra particulars of the incident.

“Alex pulled over after seeing a low tire indicator light. A male driver in a blue pick-up asked him if he had car troubles, as soon as Alex replied, he was shot,” the assertion mentioned.

Notable household in South Carolina

Murdaugh is a member of a very well-known household in authorized circles in South Carolina. The Murdaugh household has had three generations function the 14th Circuit Solicitor, which leads prosecutions for Allendale, Beaufort, Colleton, Hampton and Jasper counties in the southern half of South Carolina.

More just lately, they’ve been embroiled in a sequence of bloody tragedies — together with the deadly shootings of Murdaugh’s spouse and son Margaret and Paul in June.

The day earlier than the shooting incident, Murdaugh had resigned from the regulation agency Peters, Murdaugh, Parker, Eltzroth & Detrick (PMPED), in accordance to the agency.

South Carolina attorney shot in the head 3 months after his wife and son were killed

Days later, the agency mentioned Murdaugh’s resignation got here “after the discovery by PMPED that Alex misappropriated funds in violation of PMPED standards and policies.”

His license was subsequently suspended, in accordance to the South Carolina Supreme Court.

Randy Murdaugh IV, Alex Murdaugh’s brother and in addition an legal professional at PMPED regulation agency, launched a assertion about the resignation acknowledging what legal professional Jim Griffin would later specify as Alex Murdaugh’s opioid dependancy.

“I was shocked, just as the rest of my PMPED family, to learn of my brother, Alex’s, drug addiction and stealing of money,” Randy Murdaugh wrote in the assertion.

SLED introduced Monday that it has opened an investigation into Murdaugh primarily based upon the misappropriation fund allegations.

A household tragedy

Two days after the shooting, Murdaugh launched a assertion saying he was getting into 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 truly regret,” he mentioned in the assertion. “I’m resigning from my law firm and entering rehab after a long battle that has been exacerbated by these murders. I am immensely sorry to everyone I’ve hurt including my family, friends and colleagues. I ask for prayers as I rehabilitate myself and my relationships.”

On June 7, Alex Murdaugh known as 911 and reported he discovered his spouse Margaret, 52, and son Paul, then 22, shot lifeless outdoors of their dwelling in Islandton, a small group about an hour north of Hilton Head Island, in accordance to the SLED.

South Carolina attorney resigns and enters rehab after being shot in the head months after deaths of his wife and son

Colleton County Sheriff’s deputies decided each victims had a number of gunshot wounds.

His brothers, John Marvin Murdaugh and Randolph “Randy” Murdaugh IV, quickly after spoke to “Good Morning America” about the killings and mentioned they didn’t consider Alex was concerned.

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

The SLED requested the public to withhold judgment till the investigation is full.

While investigating the mom and son’s deaths, SLED gathered info that prompted them to reopen an investigation into the unsolved demise of 19-year-old Stephen Smith, whose physique was discovered in the street in 2015 in Hampton County, the company mentioned.

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

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