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Alleged triggerman in insurance scheme says he didn’t shoot Alex Murdaugh

Published: Oct. 14, 2021 at 2:37 PM EDT
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MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (CBS News/WCSC) - A man charged with conspiring with Lowcountry attorney Alex Murdaugh in an alleged insurance scheme says he did not fire a shot.

Curtis Smith told CBS’s “48 Hours” his side of the story about the Sept. 4 incident in which Murdaugh claimed he had been shot along a Hampton County road.

Smith is 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.

Murdaugh called 911 the Saturday of Labor Day weekend claiming he had been shot in the head while changing a tire. But investigators said Murdaugh later told them he gave Smith a gun and asked Smith to fatally shoot him with the motive of providing Murdaugh’s son a $10 million insurance payout.

Smith said Murdaugh, whom he described as being like a brother to him, called him on Sept. 4 claiming he needed Smith’s help. Smith said he didn’t think twice before heading to the Hampton County road to meet him. But he said that when he arrived, Murdaugh emerged from his car holding a gun.

“He said, ‘You know, you got to take care of this.’ And I said, ‘Well, I can’t do it.’ And he took it, he turned his head. I just grabbed his arm, put it behind his head and took the gun from him,” Smith said.

Smith claims that during a struggle, the gun went off. Then, he said he disposed of the weapon.

“He wanted me to kill him,” Smith said.

Smith’s attorney, Jonny McCoy, said Smith reacted like anyone else would in rejecting the idea of shooting Murdaugh.

“He made sure [Murdaugh] couldn’t kill himself,” McCoy said, insisting Smith committed no crime.

“If I hadn’t took the gun, I don’t know what he would have done. That simple,” Smith said.

He said as he drove away, he felt mad and scared at the same time.

Murdaugh’s attorneys have said their client was addicted to opioids, which had taken a toll on his mental health. Murdaugh, they say, grew more distraught in the months following the still-unsolved shooting deaths of his wife, Maggie, and his youngest son, Paul.

“Did you shoot Alex Murdaugh?” CBS correspondent Nikki Battiste asked.

“No,” Smith answered.

“Were you Alex Murdaugh’s drug dealer?” Battiste asked.

“No,” Smith answered.

Smith said if he is guilty of anything, it is “trusting too much.”

Murdaugh, meanwhile, was arrested Thursday in Orlando, Florida, at a drug rehab facility where he was being treated, according to the SLED spokesman Tommy Crosby.

Murdaugh is facing two charges in connection with the misappropriation of settlement money in the death of his longtime housekeeper.

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