THE “suicide hitman” Alex Murdaugh allegedly hired to kill him has claimed that he shot the legal scion accidentally – and had no knowledge of the plan beforehand.
Curtis Edward Smith, a handyman and Murdaugh’s alleged drug dealer, was arrested and charged last month for conspiring with the South Carolina law mogul to shoot him and frame the killing as a suicide.
Murdaugh stands accused of orchestrating his suicide[/caption]
Smith shot Murdaugh in the head on September 4[/caption]
But Smith now claims that he had no intention beforehand to shoot the man he loved “like a brother.”
It is the latest in a series of bloody and intriguing developments in the legal dynasty’s saga that gained nationwide attention in June with the unsolved murders of Murdaugh’s wife and son.
Murdaugh asked Smith to meet him on the side of an isolated road on September 4, Smith claims.
“I want you to shoot me in the back of the head,” Smith recalled Murdaugh’s words as he placed a loaded gun in his hand.
“It ain’t going to happen,” he allegedly replied.
In the ensuing struggle, the gun went off, and Murdaugh was airlifted to a Savannah hospital later that night after he was found shot in the head, Smith claims.
“I don’t know if betrayed is even the word for it,” Smith told the New York Times of the shooting.
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“I thought of him as a brother, you know, and loved him like a brother.
“And I would’ve done almost anything for him. Almost.”
State investigators have accused Murdaugh of attempting to orchestrate his own murder so that his single remaining son could take home a $10million life insurance payout.
But Murdaugh’s lawyer, Richard A. Harpootlian, who also serves as a state Democratic senator, claimed in court that the fallen legal scion was driven by his oxycodone addiction.
“He has and has had a significant opioid addiction which has led him into financial issues and no question into this situation,” Harpootlian told Hampton County Judge Tonja Alexander.
“This is a 20-year addiction, this is something he’s struggling with every day,” he added.
“I can tell you as a result of recent events: he is not a man of significant means anymore.
“Everything he owns is basically liened up,” he said, adding that insurance was covering the bill for his legal defense.
Harpootlian argued: “The only violence he has been involved with is this, which was having himself executed.
“So he’s not a danger to the community. The only danger he is is a danger to himself.”
Afterwards, a judge permitted Murdaugh to cash out on $10,000 personal recognizance, $5,000 for conspiracy and $5,000 bond for filing a false police report.
Smith faces charges of assisted suicide, assault and battery of a high aggravated nature, pointing and presenting a firearm, insurance fraud, and conspiracy to commit insurance fraud.
These pile on additional charges of “distribution of methamphetamine and possession of marijuana,” according to local authorities.
To further complicate the case, Murdaugh resigned the day before he was found shot from the prestigious law firm founded a century ago by his grandfather: Peters, Murdaugh, Parker, Eltzroth and Detrick (PMPED).
In a statement released on September 6th, PMPED accused Murdaugh of “missappropriating funds.”
“On Friday, September 3, 2021, Alex Murdaugh resigned from the Law Firm,” it read.
“He is no longer associated with PMPED in any manner. His resignation came after the discovery by PMPED that Alex misappropriated funds in violation of PMPED standards and policies.”
Murdaugh also released a statement the day after he was shot addressing the deaths of his wife and son in a horrific double shooting three months earlier.
“The murders of my wife and son have caused an incredibly difficult time in my life,” he wrote.
“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 found his wife Maggie, 52, and son Paul, 22, shot dead at the family’s hunting lodge on June 7.
The bodies were a yard apart near the dog kennels on the sprawing 1,700 acre property in Colleton County.
Maggie’s wounds are characteristic of an assault rifle while Paul’s were that of a shotgun, leading investigators to believe the two were killed with different weapons.
Murdaugh was named a person of interest in the case.
Murdaugh, whose net worth is around $1million, comes from a longstanding South Carolina legal dynasty with deep ties to the local justice system.
Murdaugh’s wife and son were shot dead three months earlier[/caption]
Murdaugh was airlifted to a Savannah hospital[/caption]
Murdaugh’s great-grandfather founded his law firm[/caption]