Investigators: Murdaugh conspired with Colleton County man in his own shooting

Published: Sep. 14, 2021 at 11:09 PM EDT|Updated: Sep. 15, 2021 at 12:47 AM EDT
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CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - State authorities say the man arrested in connection with the shooting of Alex Murdaugh planned it with Murdaugh so that Murdaugh’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.

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.

Investigators say that Murdaugh provided Smith with a gun and directed Smith to shoot him in the head for the purpose of causing Murdaugh’s death and allowing for the payment of a stated “death benefit beneficiary;” state investigators say Murdaugh provided a statement to SLED admitting to the scheme of having Smith murder him for the purpose of his son collecting a life insurance policy.

“Additional charges in the case are expected and will be announced at the appropriate time,” SLED officials said. “Smith has also been charged with distribution of methamphetamine and possession of marijuana.”

The SLED 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.

Alex Murdaugh and Curtis Edward Smith
Alex Murdaugh and Curtis Edward Smith(Provided/CCDC)

Murdaugh timeline provided by SLED

SLED investigators say the incident started on Sept. 4 when Murdaugh conspired with Smith in the area of Old Salkehatchie Road for the purpose of assisting Murdaugh in his suicide.

According to the incident report, Smith followed Murdaugh to Old Salkehatchie Road and shot Murdaugh as he stood in the roadway. After shooting Murdaugh in the head, Smith drove to an unknown location where he disposed of the weapon, investigators reported.

Murdaugh survived and was then transported to the hospital for treatment.

On Monday, SLED officials said Murdaugh provided a statement to them admitting to the scheme of having Smith murder him for the purpose of his son collecting a life insurance policy.

Then on Tuesday, Smith admitted to being present during Murdaugh’s shooting, and to disposing of the weapon.

On Monday, SLED 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 Alex 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.

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.

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.

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