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Attorney wanted man to kill him for insurance money, S.C. authorities say

Published: Sep. 15, 2021 at 5:05 AM MDT
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CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC/Gray News) - State authorities said the man arrested in connection with Alex Murdaugh’s shooting planned it with Murdaugh so that the attorney’s surviving son could collect a $10 million life insurance policy.

Agents with the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division on Tuesday arrested 61-year-old Curtis Edward Smith of Colleton County, WCSC reported.

Smith was charged with assisted suicide, assault and battery of a high aggravated nature, pointing and presenting a firearm, insurance fraud and conspiracy to commit insurance fraud.

State authorities said the man arrested in connection with Alex Murdaugh’s shooting planned it...
State authorities said the man arrested in connection with Alex Murdaugh’s shooting planned it with Murdaugh so that the attorney’s surviving son could collect a $10 million life insurance policy.(WCSC)

Investigators said that Murdaugh provided Smith with a gun Sept. 4 and directed Smith to shoot him in the head for the purpose of causing his death and allowing for the payment of a stated “death benefit beneficiary.”

According to the incident report, Smith shot Murdaugh as he stood in the roadway. After the shooting, Smith drove to an unknown location where he disposed of the weapon, investigators said.

Murdaugh survived and was taken to the hospital for treatment.

State investigators said Murdaugh provided a statement to police admitting to the scheme.

“Additional charges in the case are expected and will be announced at the appropriate time,” South Carolina Law Enforcement Division officials said.

Smith was also charged with drug crimes.

The South Carolina Law Enforcement Division investigation was requested by the Hampton County Sheriff’s Office.

Smith was booked at the Colleton County Detention Center, and the case will be prosecuted by the Attorney General’s Office.

On Monday, South Carolina Law Enforcement Division officials confirmed that it has opened an investigation into Murdaugh’s alleged misappropriation of funds from the law firm his family founded.

Murdaugh announced last week he was resigning from the law firm of Peters, Murdaugh, Parker, Eltzroth, & Detrick in Hampton County and would enter rehab.

The South Carolina Supreme Court suspended Murdaugh’s license to practice law last Wednesday days after he was accused of taking money from the law firm.

One of Murdaugh’s lawyers, Jim Griffin, said the allegations of financial impropriety prompted Murdaugh to confront his substance dependency and voluntarily check into an in-patient substance abuse rehab facility.

Murdaugh’s wife, Maggie, 52; and their son, Paul, 22, were shot to death at the family’s hunting property in the rural Islandton community of Colleton County on June 7. Murdaugh himself made the grisly discovery and called 911 to report the killings.

SPECIAL SECTION: Murdaugh death investigation

Murdaugh released a statement on Sept. 6:

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. 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.

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